You have heard, no doubt, about the new Obama administration policy committing US diplomacy to punishing countries where gay people are persecuted:
The Obama administration bluntly warned the world against gay and lesbian discrimination Tuesday, declaring the U.S. will use foreign assistance as well as diplomacy to back its insistence that gay rights are fully equal to other basic human rights.
In unusually strong language, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton compared the struggle for gay equality to difficult passages toward women’s rights and racial equality, and she said a country’s cultural or religious traditions are no excuse for discrimination.
“Gay rights are human rights, and human rights are gay rights,” she said. “It should never be a crime to be gay.”
I do not think a person should be abused or killed because he or she desires his or her own gender or practices homosexuality. I also do not think a person should be abused he or she is a child or killed because he or she lives inside a womb. My question, then, is this. Why is abuse and killing of lesbian, gay, bi-sexual, and transgendered (LGBT) people more worthy of the bully pulpit that is the the United States thanchildren caught up the sex trafficking trade or those butchered in the womb? Why do they deserve more protection than Christians killed for their faith? … Are there more crimes against LGBT people around the world than against children? Are there more crimes committed in response to sexual orientation than in response to religion?
I agree, and would also ask: how far do we take this? I would think (I would hope and pray) that even the most committed opponent of gay marriage would oppose laws in other lands that condemn homosexuals to death or imprisonment simply for being gay. Insofar as the Obama policy advances this goal, I support it. The mess in Uganda is evil.
But does this new policy mean that countries who do not embrace same-sex marriage are going to be disadvantaged in their diplomatic relations with the US? Will this mean that gays are more privileged in this way than victims of religious discrimination? (I’m asking sincerely; perhaps the US already makes religious freedom a priority in its diplomacy, in precisely this way.) If, for the sake of argument, the US does make pushing for religious freedom a priority in its diplomacy, what happens when that priority clashes with the new gay rights push?