In an historic address before the United Nations in Geneva, Switzerland, Tuesday, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton spoke on International Human Rights Day, acknowledging historic forward steps against racism, women's rights and religious freedom—and then spent the majority of her speech condeming continuing injustice against gays. The video and full transcript can be viewed at Advocate.com here.
Clinton said, "I want to talk about the work we have left to do to protect one group whose human rights are still denied in many parts of the world: gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people, human beings born free and given bestowed equality and dignity, who have a right to claim that—now one of the remaining human rights challenges of our time."
Other vital points:
* "Like being a woman, like being a racial, religious, tribal or ethnic minority, being LGBT does not make you less human. And that is why gay rights are human rights, and human rights are gay rights."
* "Gay people are born into and belong to every society in the world. They are all ages, all races, all faiths; they are doctors and teachers, farmers and bankers, soldiers and athletes; and whether we know it, or whether we acknowledge it, they are our family, our friends, and our neighbors. Being gay is not a Western invention; it is a human reality."
* "It bears noting that rarely are cultural and religious traditions and teachings actually in conflict with the protection of human rights. Indeed, our religion and our culture are sources of compassion and inspiration toward our fellow human beings."
* "I know the obstacles standing in the way of protecting the human rights of LGBT people rest on personal, political, cultural and religious beliefs. Even though progress on this front is not easy, we cannot delay acting... With slavery, what was once justified as sanctioned by God is now reviled as an unconscionable violation of human rights. No practice or tradition trumps the human rights that belong to all of us."
* "In many places, including my own country, legal protections have preceded, not followed, broader recognition of rights. Laws that discriminate validate other kinds of discrimination. Laws that require equal protections reinforce the moral imperative of equality. And practically speaking, it is often the case that laws must change before fears about change dissipate."
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