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There is no “except” in “equality”

June 29, 2011

Yesterday the Washington Blade posted an article about Hilary Clinton’s speech at a Pride rally.

Also during her 14-minute speech, Clinton referenced the work the State Department has done in the past year to address LGBT issues overseas, including facilitating passage of a resolution at the United Nations recognizing the human rights of LGBT people worldwide.

“And with that we took a huge step forward in our work to refute the hateful suggestion that LGBT people are somehow exempt from human rights protections, and we made it absolutely clear that, so far as the United States is concerned and our foreign policy, and our values — that gay rights are human rights and human rights are gay rights,” she said.

Woodhull’s work is focused on our fundamental human right to sexual freedom and so, as I had when Secretary Clinton first made the human rights connection in public, I was pleased to read her statement. Then I went back and re-read it and was struck, once again, by the contradiction in Ms. Clinton’s beliefs.

As I said in my response to the article at the Blade,

Neither Hillary Clinton or President Obama currently support same-sex marriage. One assumption has been that it was a political issue that could “sink their ship”. New York state has proven that this isn’t a political hot-potato but, rather, as Ms. Clinton so eloquently states, a human rights issue.

To declare their belief in full equality but deny the right to same-sex marriage is an absolute parallel to freeing the slaves but denying them the right to marry or retain “family” with their offspring.

Full equality has no exceptions.

The United Nations resolution to which Secretary Clinton refers is the first UN resolution ever to bring specific focus to human rights violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity, and follows a joint statement on these issues delivered at the March session of the council. It affirms the universality of human rights, and notes concern about acts of violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

The resolution was presented by South Africa and Brazil and 39 other co-sponsors. South Africa stated, in their presentation, that “everyone is entitled to all rights and freedoms without distinction of any kind” and Brazil called on the Council to “open the long closed doors of dialogue”.

We have fallen behind the rest of the world in industry. We have fallen behind the rest of the world in financial matters. We have fallen behind the rest of the world in education. Now we can add to that list that we are also behind the rest of the world in matters of freedom and equality.

Is this okay with you?

No man is free until all men are free. No woman is healed until all women are healed. –Maya Angelou



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