An inadvertently leaked draft of a section of the Republican Party platform implies that the United States should not oppose anti-LGBT laws in the 76 countries where homosexuality is a crime.
As the GOP convention gets under way this week, the gathering will see whether that language remains in the party platform. [Update: On Aug. 28, the platform was unveiled with that language intact.]
The draft that appeared briefly last week on a GOP website criticized the Obama administration for warning that U.S. foreign aid might be curtailed to countries with laws that define lesbians, gays, bisexuals and transgender people as criminals. The draft, which was reported by Politico, stated:
The effectiveness of our foreign aid has been limited by the cultural agenda of the current Administration, attempting to impose on foreign countries, especially the peoples of Africa, … the homosexual rights agenda. At the same time, faith-based groups — the sector that has had the best track record in promoting lasting development — have been excluded from grants because they will not conform to the administration’s social agenda. We will reverse this tragic course, encourage more involvement by the most effective aid organizations, and trust developing peoples to build their future from the ground up.
Among those faith-based groups, many fundamentalist Christians have promoted harsh anti-homosexuality laws, most prominently the so-called “Kill the Gays” bill in Uganda. So far, the United States has stood firmly in opposition to that bill.
The pro-LGBT website Think Progress explained the language used in the GOP document:
The phrase “homosexual agenda” is, historically speaking, a term used by anti-gay crusaders to imply that people asking for equal rights have some kind of sinister plan for society. And while it’s true that the Obama campaign has worked to protect gay rights internationally, foreign aid dollars aren’t going to marriage equality campaigns — U.S. money is being used to finance legal and journalistic efforts to protect LGBT Africans from being murdered or jailed for their sexual orientation.
Think Progress also reported about both a positive effect of U.S. opposition to anti-LGBT laws and the negative effects of those laws:
U.S. pressure on this front caused Malawi, which had recently sentenced a gay couple to 14 years in prison for having sex, to rethink its radically anti-gay laws. Both Liberia and Uganda have proposed executing gay citizens as part of a continent-wide wave of anti-gay legislation aided and abetted by the American Christian Right. Further, anti-gay stigma and legislation contribute significantly to the HIV/AIDS epidemic, suggesting that confronting these problems is critical to addressing the health issues foreign aid is supposed to address.
For more on how anti-LGBT laws contribute to HIV/AIDS, see these posts on this blog:
- AIDS rebounds in Uganda with help from anti-gay law
- AIDS experts: Decriminalization needed to combat AIDS
- Fatal flaw in official anti-AIDS declaration (which lists 11 countries with anti-homosexuality laws and high HIV infection rates).
The GOP reportedly will release its platform as the convention gets under way on Tuesday.
- World Bank may join fight against anti-LGBT bias (76crimes.com)
- Report on anti-LGBT laws cites ‘reason to hope’ (76crimes.com)
- New activist network fights AIDS and anti-LGBT laws (76crimes.com)
- GOP Draft Platform: ‘Homosexual Agenda’ Advanced By Obama Foreign Aid (thinkprogress.org)