Obama Urges U.N. Support of LGBT Rights

More than 85 countries agreed to help end human rights violations related to sexual orientation and gender identity

The President, First Lady and daughters with Brazilian President Rousseff and Foreign Minister Antonio Patriota in Brazil (courtesy of the White House).

The White House made a statement last week asking the United Nations to support LGBT rights around the world, saying that the U.S. is committed to protecting LGBT people from risk of violence and death.

President Obama addressed the U.N. Human Rights Council – which has condemned human rights violations based on sexual orientation or gender identity, including murder, torture and rape – according to a White House statement.

During President Obama’s recent trip to Brazil, he and President Dilma Rousseff agreed to promote respect for LGBT rights through the Organization of American States’ “Special Rapporteur,” the first international initiative of its kind that sets out to broaden respect and safety.

“Over the past months our diplomats have been engaged in frank, and at times difficult, conversations about the human rights of LGBT persons with governments from around the world,” explained White House Press Secretary Jay Carney. “Some 85 countries joined the United States in reaffirming our joint commitment to end acts of violence and human rights abuses on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity.”

U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton also commented on the efforts, saying, “Human rights apply to everyone,” and that for the first time many countries who have never supported gay rights are joining in the international effort.

“Gay rights are human rights and human rights are gay rights,” said Clinton. “We will continue to promote human rights around the world for all people who are marginalized and discriminated against because of sexual orientation or gender identity. As we will not rest until every man, woman and child is able to live up to his or her potential free from persecution or discrimination of any kind.”