Sixty-one House and Senate Democrats have asked President Obama to work to make sure federal funds aren’t being used to fund LGBT discrimination abroad.
The letter, led by Sen. Edward Markey (D-MA) and Rep. Alan Lowenthal (D-CA), reads.
We encourage you to continue efforts to ensure the human rights of all persons regardless of sex, gender identity, or sexual identity. We write to encourage you to take additional steps to ensure U.S. funds are not used to subsidize LGBT discrimination at home or abroad.”
They applauded Obama for his Executive Order last year, which protected LGBT government workers against discrimination, but asked him to do more.
The Executive Order does not apply to contractors hiring and doing business abroad. It does not apply to grantees. Moreover, the Executive Order does not prohibit those receiving U.S. funds from engaging in marketplace discrimination (e.g., refusal of goods and services) against LGBT customers or suppliers.”
The letter notes that LGBT people are often in “dire need” of the services that foreign aid provides.
We encourage you to make this an urgent, Administration-wide priority and coordinate across agencies to ensure a broad non-discrimination policy is implemented before the end of your Administration’s tenure. In doing so, this would ensure LGBT people have access to the full range of services offered by U.S.-funded programs and would guarantee our foreign aid dollars are aligned with the values of promoting the human rights of marginalized people globally.
To promote our fundamental values of equality, equity, and diversity, we cannot go half way at home and we certainly cannot halt the extension of these values at our border. Our nation has what I see as a major role in defending the innate rights of all human beings across the globe—including the LGBT community—to live, love, and prosper.
The Washington Blade reports that no Republican penned their names to the missive, nor did Rep. Sean Patrick Maloney (D-N.Y.), who’s gay, and Rep. Kyrsten Sinema (D-Ariz.), who’s bisexual, didn’t sign the letter.