Washington (CNN) - Secretary of State Hillary Clinton pledged to end violence and discrimination against gays and lesbians at home and abroad Tuesday, as the Obama administration moves to extend further benefits to gays working in the federal government.
"We are moving together in the right direction," said Clinton. "We reaffirm our commitment to protect the rights of all human beings."
Clinton drew several standing ovations from the standing-room-only crowd of several hundred during her address at an event co-hosted by the State Department's Office of Civil Rights and GLIFAA, the organization for Gays and Lesbians in Foreign Affairs Agencies. June has been recognized as Gay and Lesbian Pride Month.
Speaking about the linkages between gay rights and U.S. foreign policy, Clinton said she is asking embassies in Africa and elsewhere to report on rights of the local lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender communities. The State Department is also placing more attention on ensuring gays around the world have access to HIV/AIDS prevention and treatment and providing protection for LBGT refugees.
The department is also providing grants to human rights activists who are persecuted either because they are gay or defend gay rights, she said.
"These dangers are not gay issues. This is a human rights issue," Clinton said. She drew more rousing applause when she declared "human rights are gay rights and gay rights are human rights," a variation on the phrase she famously delivered in Beijing 10 years ago declaring "women's rights are human rights."
Clinton said she is equally concerned about creating an environment at the State Department in which gay employees feel valued and "can give 100 percent." That is why, she said, she supported offering equal benefits to same-sex partners of State Department employees, a move that encouraged President Barack Obama to authorize such benefits for gays throughout the federal government.
She noted the State Department also has made it easier for transgender people to change their passports and, for the first time, the agency's "equal opportunity statement" will include gender identity and sexual preference.
The Obama administration is expected to announce Wednesday that gay workers will be able to take medical leave to care for the sick or newborn children of their same-sex partners as part of the Family and Medical Leave Act, which generally allows those working for companies with 50 or more employees to take 12 unpaid weeks off to care for newborns or children with serious health issues.
Obama and Vice President Joe Biden also were to attend a gay pride event later Tuesday at the White House.
Knowing the Republicans, they are going to lash out against this.
Why don't we just try and find ways to spend. I don't think Clinton or Obama has a clue of what they are doing.
The people wanted change you sure as hell got it didn't you.
I hope in 2010 and 2012 you don't make the same mistake twice.
So we're about to engage in a world-wide campaign to protect gays? Usually, the liberal response to such proposals is to object to "imperialism," "interference in the affairs of other countries," and "what right do we have to dictate to others?" But not this time, I think.
GOOD NEWS FROM THE LOUSY SECRETARY OF STATE.....
WE Have Wars, Conflicts, Terrorists, and new nuclear states popping up.
We had a South Korean Sub that was sunk by the hostile north...
Iran has or soon will have nuclear capabilities....
Turkey is supporting terrorists against Israel...
And She is worried and concerned about Gays across the world....
Why doesnt she step down as Secretary of State and she can be Secretary of Gay rights..... She is probably suited better for that fight...
OUR GOVERMENT IS A JOKE.
The president if you can call him that is a clown surrounded by clowns.... there is some very lousy leadership in power...
SO this Barack clown has put 9 count them 9 people on his BP oil commission.
Not 1 Expert.
Not 1 Oil Professional.
Not 1 Business Professional.
Not 1 Engineer.
Not 1 Expert in the industry.
NOPE just 9 ENVIRONMENTALIST. 9.
Good job Barack. YOU CANT SOLVE THE PROBLEM....YOU JUST WANT TO BREAK THE OIL COMPANIES.
YOU HAVE NOT SOLVED THE WELL PROBLEM... AND YOU ARE STOPPING THE CLEANUP.
Maybe Hillary should be handling the Oil Spill instead of the Gay Initiative.
WHAT A JOKE!
She doesn't even defend the United States!
The Clinton Administration implemented Don't Ask Don't Tell.
DADT basically works as is. Nobody really cares as long as they do their job. Maybe just have a review panel for greivances or allow gays to serve in their own units if they are made uncomfortable or harassed.
Good for Hillary. It's the right thing to do.
That's why my partner and I supported here in 2008..maybe the future will be brighter as we go up the "Hill" for equal rights!!!!
Now we know.
While the SoS might be able to do something about violence against homosexuals, she can't do anything about discrimination against them. This is something that has been taught to Jews and Christians, among others, for thousands of years. It is part of our beliefs, and Sec. Clinton can't do anything about that.
Nice to see the Obozo administration working the real important issues of our time!
protecting their right to what? Promote their perverse lifestyle choice? Clinton considers herself a Christian? She ought to review the Good Book – specifically Romans 1:25-27. Will the CNN censors disallow a reference to the holy book because it may offend the gay community? Do them a favor and let them see the truth. No, I am not judging them or condemning them. I love gays but will not stand idly by while they promote their sinful lifestyle as acceptable anymore than I would remain silent while a crook is robbing a bank. Violence toward gays i
Sec. Clinton will have a very tough time with this message in lawless, homophobic places like Saudi Arabia, Bulgaria, and Texas.
Yeah, she like all dem wits, will do anything for a vote!!!
You go, Hillary! let's hope she can get folks here to stop exporting the kind of bigotry that resulted in the infamous 'kill the gays' bill in Africa. it's time all these so-called 'christians' stopped peddling hate and started practicing what their Lord and Savior preached, love one another.
I don't know anyone who is gay, but I would not assume that they chose to be gay, which means that they were born as a gay person. If they are willing to serve in the millitary to defend the rights of everyone in this country I see no reason why they shouldn't be allowed to do so. I would bet those who are against them serving probably haven't served themselves.
I don't believe that what someone does in private should concern anyone but that person and is no one else's business. We have enough trouble in this world to be concerned about without something that should not concern us.
Live and let live.
protecting their right to what? Promote their perverse lifestyle choice? Clinton considers herself a Christian? She ought to review the Good Book – specifically Romans 1:25-27. Will the CNN censors disallow a reference to the holy book because it may offend the gay community? Do them a favor and let them see the truth. No, I am not judging them or condemning them. I love gays but will not stand idly by while they promote their sinful lifestyle as acceptable anymore than I would remain silent while a crook is robbing a bank. Do only gays have a right to voice their opinion now?
America faces far more serious problems such as the oil spill rather than dwelling on perversions.
1. Marriage is between a man and a woman.
2. That doesn't mean gays should have to worry about violence, intimidation, or imprisonment for there sexual orientation.