National Security Adviser Susan Rice on Wednesday stressed support of LGBT rights remains an essential part of American foreign policy.
“The United States remains firmly committed to promoting freedom, opportunity and prosperity everywhere,” she said during a speech at the Newseum in downtown Washington during Human Rights First’s annual Human Rights Summit. “We stand proudly for the rights of women, the LGBT community and minorities.”
Rice noted President Obama spoke in support of LGBT rights during a June press conference in the Senegalese capital with the African country’s president the day after the U.S. Supreme Court ruled a portion of the Defense of Marriage Act unconstitutional and struck down California’s Proposition 8. Senegal is among the more than 70 countries in which homosexuality remains criminalized.
The former U.S. ambassador to the United Nations further highlighted Obama’s meeting with Russian LGBT Network Chair Igor Kochetkov, Olga Lenkova of Coming Out and seven other Russian human rights advocates during the G-20 summit that took place in St. Petersburg, Russia, in September.
Rice noted the U.S. “often can cooperate with Russia” on arms control and other “vital interests,” but she was quick to criticize the Kremlin’s human rights record.
“As we meet these mutual challenges, we don’t remain silent about the Russian government’s systematic efforts to curtail the actions of Russian civil society, to stigmatize the LGBT community,” Rice said. “We deplore selective justice and the prosecution of those who protest the corruption and cronyism that is sapping Russia’s economic future and limiting its potential to play its full role on the world stage.”
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