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.
drip....drip...drip...drip... more moral decay from this adminstration,,,,no national day of pray ,,,but plenty of gay pride ,,,drip ....drip....drip....drip....
ok, I can see defending our citizens who happen to also be gay
sexual preference has nothing to do with citizenry, they pay their taxes like the rest (hopefully) and deserve the same protections
but gays abroad, I hope you mean U.S. citizens who happen to be gay who happen to be traveling abroad
if not, then I think you need to re-think this stance
I agree with Hillary. There is evidence to show homosexuality is genetic. And it's not confined to our species.
Discrimination against gays is no different than discriminating against other groups.
Yes, we are moving in the right direction, in so many ways! This is the hope and change we voted for!
Hillary is a tool, pure and simple.
well, she's giving herslef an outing.
we know she's gay and Chelsea is adopted.
While I agree 100% that we need to be defending the rights of EVERYBODY here at home, we have NO BUSINESS defending the rights of gays overseas. We are not the moral police of the world, and we never will be.
Good everyone should have equal rights. okay let the hate remarks start.
Good for her. Good for the Obama administration. Good for freedom-loving good people everywhere (i.e. bad for Republicans).
There's a hole in the ocean, the economy is in the tank, the war in Afganistan is escalating, all of our allies are turning against us, we are turning our back on our allies, we are growing a deficit so large that our great grand children will be broke, the country is more devided than it has been in 50 years and Clinton is worried about Gays? WHERE ARE YOUR PRIORITIES?
Believe they need jobs too.
Clinton needs to hit Saudi Arabia, Iran, Syria and the rest of the intolerant middle east with her gay rights. Obama is pressuring for understanding and acceptance of these people. They will surely understand and welcome her gay rights program.
I COULDN'T THINK OF A MORE PRESSING CONCERN for the SECRETARY OF STATE and this ADMINISTRATION to spend so much time, effort and tax payer monies on. Who says OBAMA isn't the leader of choice in theses trying times?! Maybe we can get these poor souls PREFERENTIAL HIRING STATUS too, you know like AFFIRMATIVE ACTION.
How about the Obama Administration defend TAXPAYER rights and enforce the Constitution like they pledged when they took office . . . stop illegal immigration . . . balance the budget . . . and listen to the will of the people.
I am sick and tired of "Hot Button Politics".
If politians treated everybody equal, there would be NO NEED for special provisions.
I pray the day will come when people are treated equally under God's creation of us all. I refuse to condemn a person because of their sexual orientation, that's The Almighty's job and to hate is the work of none believers.
Mrs. Bill Clinton is jockeying for a white house run in 2012 she'll agree to anything now.
And so her campaign begins, say good-bye Biden....Question is will Barry step aside or will Hillary bow down for a shot at the number two slot. With the way that both the Democrats and Republicans are destroying our Nation daily, I don't think it will matter either way. With a National deficit at t 13 trillion and counting which does not include the Fannie Mae and Freddie Mac debt how are we ever to come out of this economic mess that they both have created?
I love the smell of Napalm in the morning...
We support gay rights as long as they do not want to get married that is.....
When we people be viewed as people instead of having some label or group.
If only we elected HER president instead of the bozo we have in there now. Serves Democrats right for treating Hillary the way they did in the primaries in order to foist the "Fraud" on this country.
Who exactly is the one who seems presidential??? Clinton should have been president. How did we get the incompetent Dr. Utopia instead of this elegant and SMART woman?
Do you know any way to get Obama off the golf course and back to the things that truly matter in this country......we are going or have gone down a spiraling out of control country. So many people are hurting and he is golfing. Is anyone in touch at all and does any one care. You have been given great responsiblities and not living up to them. Please help and take a stand for good not evil. Thank You, Mary
I would prefer she defend it abroad. How about defending human rights as a whole? Enough of this pandering and catering to special interests. I am tired of hearing about gay issues, black issues, illegal immigrants, etc. Just enforce the laws already on the books and defend the country and constitution...that seems to be challenging enough without borrowing trouble. Leave the other stuff to the states and the ACLU.
Although I believe Hillary is doing a fine job as SOS, she is beginning to look worn out.
A telling sign that perhaps she would NOT have been able to handle the stress associated with the presidency after all.
Difficult times require difficult decisions, and yes, the majority of Americans did choose correctly. Of that I AM sure . . .
What other countries do with respect to gay rights is absolutely no concern of the US!
What makes Clinton think that other countries appreciate US meddling in their internal affairs?
Problem is that many of US 'partners' against terrorism in Asia and the Middle East not only ban and outlaw any kind of right to homosexuals but also (in some cases) makes homosexualism a capital offense...