For Immediate Release
Trevor Thomas 202/216.1547 Cell: 202/250.9758
Rachel Balick 202/216.1516 Cell: 202/246.1226
Human Rights Campaign Applauds Obama Administration for Supporting UN Declaration Affirming Human Rights of LGBT People
Bush administration had previously refused to sign
WASHINGTON - The Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) civil rights organization, issued a statement today on the Obama administration's announcement that it formally endorsed a United Nations declaration calling for an end to discrimination and other human rights abuses based on sexual orientation and gender identity. The move is a reversal of the Bush administration's refusal to sign the statement, which made the United States the only western nation not to support the measure when presented by the U.N. General Assembly in December.
"This is a welcome step forward as it signals to the world that, after years of a hostile administration, the United States recognizes the humanity of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people at home and abroad," said Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese. "We applaud the Obama administration for joining the other 66 member nations that have officially recognized that basic human rights include the equality of LGBT people."
"The United States supports the U.N.'s statement on human rights, sexual orientation and gender identity and is pleased to join the other 66 U.N. member states who have declared their support of the statement," the State Department said in a statement released today. "The United States is an outspoken defender of human rights and critic of human rights abuses around the world. As such, we join with other supporters of this statement, and we will continue to remind countries of the importance of respecting the human rights of all people in all appropriate international fora."
In December, HRC was a vocal critic of the Bush administration's refusal to sign the declaration. Nearly 2,500 HRC members called the State Department urging it support the declaration. HRC also released a joint statement denouncing the Vatican's opposition to the declaration. The statement, which was signed by faith program directors from the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation and National Black Justice Coalition, can be found read online by visiting, http://www.hrc.org/news/11728.htm.
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The Human Rights Campaign represents a grassroots force of over 750,000 members and supporters nationwide. As the largest national lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization, HRC envisions an America where LGBT people are ensured of their basic equal rights, and can be open, honest and safe at home, at work and in the community.