An End to Antigay Aid?

By Michelle Garcia

Originally published on Advocate.com March 15 2011 4:10 PM ET

The House Financial Services Committee passed an amendment Tuesday that
would discourage giving aid to countries that persecute their citizens because of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

According to a statement from Rep. Barney Frank (pictured), who introduced the amendment to the committee, the bill passed with nearly unanimous support. The amendment will be added to a House Financial Services Committee bill that outlines budget priorities for issues under the committee's jurisdiction. According to Frank's office, the Financial Services Committee's overwhelming support for his amendment may lead to support in the Budget Committee and the full House.

The text of the amendment reads: "The Committee urges Treasury to advocate that governments receiving assistance from the multilateral development institutions do not engage in gross violations of human rights, for example, the denial of freedom of religion, including the right to choose one’s own religion, and physical persecution based on sexual orientation or gender identity."

Frank cited Uganda, a beneficiary of the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries program, as an example of a country that openly abuses its LGBT citizens.

“The United States has a fairly influential voice in the development area," Frank said Tuesday. "And we should not be supportive of providing multilateral bank development funds going to the governments of countries which engage in the physical persecution of people because of their religious beliefs, sexual orientation, or gender identity.”