US Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell and American Ambassador to the United Nations Kelly Craft used the UN bully pulpit on Wednesday to call on 69 nations, including Iran, Saudi Arabia, Yemen and Algeria, to stop their criminalization of homosexuality.
Grenell, the most senior openly gay member of the Trump administration, launched the unprecedented international campaign in February to decriminalize homosexuality across the world.
Craft tweeted that “No person should be harmed, tortured or killed because of their sexual orientation, yet at least 69 countries criminalize homosexuality. Our event today at the UN showed our commitment to defending human dignity & partnering with LGBTQ groups to decriminalize homosexuality.”
No person should be harmed, tortured or killed because of their sexual orientation, yet at least 69 countries criminalize homosexuality. Our event today at the @UN showed our commitment to defending human dignity & partnering with #LGBTQ groups to decriminalize homosexuality. pic.twitter.com/HZo6nw8GWM— Ambassador Kelly Craft (@USAmbUN) December 18, 2019
Fox News reported that Grenell said: “We need to have 69 different plans of action because we are dealing with 69 different countries. It is a long road. The UN should be a place to hold countries accountable.”
According to Fox News, Grenell said the effort will be complicated. “There are no easy answers,” he noted. “I’ve been in this room thousands and thousands of times. It feels good. But this is the first stand-alone meeting on the decriminalization of homosexuality and the moment is not lost on me.”
A US embassy spokeswoman in Berlin told The Jerusalem Post that “At the event, panelists discussed the current status of efforts to decriminalize homosexuality in at least 69 countries. Panelists included: US Assistant Secretary of State for Democracy, Human Rights and Labor Robert Destro; Puerto Rico’s Chief Justice, the Honorable Ms. Maite Oronoz Rodríguez; Stuart Milk, executive director of the Harvey Milk Foundation; Rev. Johnnie Moore, Commissioner for the United States Commission for International Religious Freedom; and Mr. Hadi Damien, an LGBTQ activist from Lebanon.”
A January report by the Post detailing the Iranian regime’s public hanging of a man based on a law against gays played a critical role in the US to the announcement to jumpstart the campaign to end the criminalization of homosexuality.
Craft said, according to Fox News, “Individual men and women around the world have faced—and continue to face—punishment and even death, specifically because of their sexual orientation. This is a wrong we should seek to right, and it is a wrong I am personally committed to helping right.”
Fox reported that Grenell read aloud a list of nations that either outlaw homosexuality or persecute gay people through discrimination, throwing them in jail or death. Included in the list were “Iran, Iraq, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Jamaica, Kenya, Senegal, Cameroon, Antigua, Barbuda, Syria and Yemen, among dozens of others.”
More than 30 countries in Africa criminalize same-sex relations.
Germany’s best-selling paper Bild reported on Grenell’s speech: “I want these countries to be called out! I want these countries to feel the pressure! This list should be read here every day.”
President Donald Trump said during his UN General Assembly address in September, “As we defend American values, we affirm the right of all people to live in dignity. For this reason, my administration is working with other nations to stop criminalizing of homosexuality, and we stand in solidarity with LGBTQ people who live in countries that punish, jail, or execute individuals based upon sexual orientation.”