Follow breaking news @lgbtqnation

Kerry: U.S. launching new effort to combat anti-gay laws worldwide

Wednesday, February 26, 2014
Stephen Wandera, APUgandan pupils from different schools take part in an event organized by born-again Christians to celebrate the signing of a new anti-gay bill that sets harsh penalties for homosexual sex, at the Omega Healing Center outside of Kampala, in Uganda Monday, Feb. 24, 2014.

Stephen Wandera, AP
Ugandan pupils from different schools take part in an event organized by born-again Christians to celebrate the signing of a new anti-gay bill that sets harsh penalties for homosexual sex, at the Omega Healing Center outside of Kampala, in Uganda Monday, Feb. 24, 2014.

WASHINGTON — Troubled by an anti-gay movement in Uganda and across much of the world, the U.S. is launching a new effort to combat what Secretary of State John Kerry described Wednesday as a threat to human rights.

Comparing a harsh Uganda law to oppressive government crackdowns on German Jews in the 1930s and black South Africans during apartheid, Kerry said he was going to direct American ambassadors to look at “how we deal with this human rights challenge on a global basis.”

He said 80 nations worldwide have anti-gay laws on some levels, and he called the one in Uganda — which punishes gay sex with up to life in prison — “atrocious” and “flat out morally wrong.”

“You could change the focus of this legislation to black or Jewish, and you could be in 1930s Germany, or you could be in 1950s or ’60s apartheid South Africa,” Kerry told reporters during a 55-minute question-and-answer session at the State Department. “It was wrong there, egregiously, in both places, and it is wrong here.”

He said the issue would be a major focus of discussion when U.S. ambassadors from across the world return to Washington for meetings in the weeks ahead.

During the discussion, Kerry did not mention a proposed Arizona law that, if approved by Republican Gov. Jan Brewer, would allow businesses whose owners cite sincerely held religious beliefs to deny service to gays. Brewer has until Saturday to sign or veto it. She said in a tweet this week that she “will do the right thing for the state of Arizona.”

Earlier Wednesday, during a separate interview with MSNBC, Kerry said he was “counting on the governor” to veto the Arizona bill and predicted the Supreme Court will strike it down if it becomes law.

“This has not been an easy path in the United States, but what’s important is we’re on the path,” Kerry said on “Andrea Mitchell Reports.”

“We’re staying steady,” he said. “We’ve made enormous progress in the United States, and we will stand up for people’s rights anywhere in the world because that’s who we are in the United States of America.”

© 2014, Associated Press, All Rights Reserved.
This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.
Share this article with your friends and followers:

Archives: , , ,

Filed under: National Headlines

37 more reader comments:

  1. start here at home first Kerry

    Posted on Wednesday, February 26, 2014 at 11:25pm
  2. What about us here? Unless you consider Kentucky another country, sometimes I wonder if it’s another planet.

    Posted on Wednesday, February 26, 2014 at 11:26pm
  3. I sincerely hope this is done through peaceful means.

    Posted on Wednesday, February 26, 2014 at 11:26pm
  4. It’s about time!

    Posted on Wednesday, February 26, 2014 at 11:26pm
  5. Crazy to think that statistically a couple of the kids in that photo are homosexual.

    Posted on Wednesday, February 26, 2014 at 11:26pm
  6. Sure hope some of them are recognized by our very own lawmakers.

    Posted on Wednesday, February 26, 2014 at 11:27pm
  7. Let’s have our country walk the walk before they talk the talk.

    Posted on Wednesday, February 26, 2014 at 11:27pm
  8. Happy Hump Day TX!!!

    Posted on Wednesday, February 26, 2014 at 11:28pm
  9. Good on Kerry. Let’s get this moving. First Step…every possible sanction should be implemented against Uganda

    Posted on Wednesday, February 26, 2014 at 11:28pm
  10. that photo breaks my heart that those children are being taught such hatred

    Posted on Wednesday, February 26, 2014 at 11:28pm
  11. That photo is awful…

    Posted on Wednesday, February 26, 2014 at 11:31pm
  12. Brain washed little kids!!! it is pathetic they don’t even have a clue of what it truly is that cheering for.

    Posted on Wednesday, February 26, 2014 at 11:31pm
  13. Multi-task Mr. Kerry! Need to work on the home field too!!!

    Posted on Wednesday, February 26, 2014 at 11:31pm
  14. He is!

    Replied on Wednesday, February 26, 2014 at 11:41pm
  15. I am glad that we aren’t only looking out for ourselves.
    We have it so much better then most of “our” fellow gays.
    It’s not all about us!
    They are our brothers and sisters

    Posted on Wednesday, February 26, 2014 at 11:31pm
  16. Yeah start here first. Damn can we take care of America first then others.

    Posted on Wednesday, February 26, 2014 at 11:32pm
  17. Start here first.

    Posted on Wednesday, February 26, 2014 at 11:32pm
  18. At one point Christianity wasn’t welcome either.

    Posted on Wednesday, February 26, 2014 at 11:32pm
  19. Maybe we should combat anti-gay laws in our own country before worrying about others.

    Posted on Wednesday, February 26, 2014 at 11:33pm
  20. I am OK with cutting off relations to nations that aren’t striving for human rights for all. No need to go in and attempt to ‘fix’ those nations…. we need to fix our own, first. But we totally don’t need to associate with Uganda for any reason beyond taking in their gay refugees… same with Russia.

    Posted on Wednesday, February 26, 2014 at 11:33pm
  21. Well, that’s nice but, what the heck about us here in the USA? Instead of trying to fix everything everywhere else lets fix things here first.

    Posted on Wednesday, February 26, 2014 at 11:33pm
  22. Lets get our Country on Board with the Whole Country has the legal right to marry a Same Sex Partner. Take care of home first, then we can expand globally.

    Posted on Wednesday, February 26, 2014 at 11:35pm
  23. what about bombs

    Posted on Wednesday, February 26, 2014 at 11:35pm
  24. apoyof

    Posted on Wednesday, February 26, 2014 at 11:35pm
  25. People don’t realize that once you start with that, it’s probably going to effect more people with different lives . Like single mother/father, it’s 2014 we should not be fighting for human rights. And to the people who say what does 2014 have to do with anything , well just look at the history of the U.S., so we can get slavery back, and treat women like their less than, etc. We should all have human rights, but you can not see past your own way

    Posted on Wednesday, February 26, 2014 at 11:36pm
  26. We only know what we are taught. I am so tired of blacks torturing each other. Luv is the key..

    Posted on Wednesday, February 26, 2014 at 11:36pm
  27. Kind of hard to work on everywhere else when anti-gay laws are still a huge issue here in the US. Ever heard of lead by example…?

    Posted on Wednesday, February 26, 2014 at 11:36pm
  28. Start at home!

    Posted on Wednesday, February 26, 2014 at 11:37pm
  29. And what are they doing about what’s going on here? B.S. PR stuff!!

    Posted on Wednesday, February 26, 2014 at 11:37pm
  30. I sincerely think we should concentrate on getting our own house in order on this before we start wagging a finger at the rest of the globe!

    Posted on Wednesday, February 26, 2014 at 11:38pm
  31. people who live in glass houses…. clean up the horrid barrage of anti-x at home

    Posted on Wednesday, February 26, 2014 at 11:38pm
  32. There is a huge difference between not being able to get married and being incarcerated for your entire life, or even killed, because you are attracted to someone of the same sex. The whole “start here first” thing is kind of ridiculous when you consider that fact. People are people and deserve our compassion no matter which country they live in.

    Posted on Wednesday, February 26, 2014 at 11:38pm
  33. God, that’s sad, warping kid’s minds like that.

    Posted on Wednesday, February 26, 2014 at 11:39pm
  34. Posted on Wednesday, February 26, 2014 at 11:40pm
  35. Can’t expect others to listen to what we say when gays don’t even have equal rights here. Hypocrisy to the core. #Do as I say, not as I do

    Posted on Wednesday, February 26, 2014 at 11:40pm
  36. Well we need to have equal rights in all of the USA to start. Let’s get our own house in order before we invade someone else’s.

    Posted on Wednesday, February 26, 2014 at 11:40pm
  37. Uganda/Nigeria make me SICK….

    Posted on Wednesday, February 26, 2014 at 11:42pm