Perry, Santorum Denounce Call for Global Gay Rights

BY Trudy Ring

December 06 2011 8:34 PM ET

To Republican presidential aspirant Rick Perry, using U.S. foreign aid to prevent persecution and even execution of LGBT people amounts to “promoting special rights for gays.” To Rick Santorum, another member of the GOP field, it’s promoting an agenda.

Perry issued a statement on his campaign website denouncing the landmark program unveiled by President Obama’s administration today, under which the U.S. will not withhold aid from countries that persecute gays but will assist LGBT rights organizations in those nations in fighting back.

(RELATED: Read our coverage of the speech here)

The announcement of the strategy was followed by a speech by Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton before a United Nations gathering in Geneva, where she pointed out that around the world, LGBT people are “routinely arrested, beaten, terrorized, even executed.” She stressed that “gay rights are human rights, and human rights are gay rights.”

Perry, the governor of Texas, responded by saying, “Just when you thought Barack Obama couldn’t get any more out of touch with America’s values, AP reports his administration wants to make foreign aid decisions based on gay rights.” He said the Obama administration is making “war on traditional American values” and on “people of faith” by “promoting a lifestyle” they find “deeply objectionable.”

If he were president, Perry said, he would “consider aid requests based solely on America’s national security interests. Promoting special rights for gays in foreign countries is not in America’s interests and not worth a dime of taxpayers’ money.”

Human Rights Campaign president Joe Solmonese called Perry’s statement “outrageous even by his own standards.” In a press release, he noted, “This is further proof that Rick Perry doesn’t want to represent the best interests of all Americans — he wants to advance an extremist, antigay agenda that represents the fringe views of a very small few.”







The Log Cabin Republicans also responded, with executive director R. Clarke Cooper saying, “Governor Perry is wrong. ... Around the globe today, gay and lesbian people are often subject to 'corrective' rape, state-sponsored torture, imprisonment, and execution. Combating these injustices is not advocating for any kind of 'special rights,' and it is shameful for Governor Perry to suggest that American people of faith do not support protecting vulnerable populations from brutality.” Perry’s stance, he said, is also at odds with that of former president George W. Bush, who “was strongly committed to supporting and protecting dissident and minority voices abroad.”

 CNN reports that former U.S. senator Santorum responded to the administration’s announcement while speaking with reporters in Iowa. “I would suggest that we give out humanitarian aid based on humanitarian need, not based on whether people are promoting their particular agenda,” Santorum said. “Obviously the administration is promoting their particular agenda in this country, and now they feel it’s their obligation to promote those values not just in the military, not just in our society, but now around the world with taxpayer dollars.”

He added that Obama “said he’s for traditional marriage, and now he’s promoting gay lifestyles and gay rights, and he’s fighting against traditional marriage within the courts, and I think he needs to be honest.”



(RELATED: Read The Advocate's Cover Story Interview With Secretary Clinton From Earlier This Year)

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