What do you do when your campaign for the Republican nomination is fading faster than Lindsay Lohan’s acting career? You crank up the bigotry and try to win back the rubes by attacking gay people. That’s Rick Perry’s strategy. You see, the Obama administration is standing up for the human rights of gays and lesbians around the world.
In a memorandum issued Tuesday, President Barack Obama directed U.S. agencies working abroad, including the State Department and the U.S. Agency for International Development, to use foreign aid to assist gays and lesbians who are facing human rights violations. And he ordered U.S. agencies to protect vulnerable gay and lesbian refugees and asylum seekers.
“The struggle to end discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender persons is a global challenge, and one that is central to the United States’ commitment to promoting human rights,” Obama said in a statement.
Sec. of State Hillary Clinton gave a speech in Geneva about the new approach, which is certainly welcome. But since Perry knows that the people he’s trying to win over don’t think gay people are human and don’t deserve any rights, he issued a statement condemning the whole thing.
“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.
“This administration’s war on traditional American values must stop.
“I have proposed a foreign aid budget that starts at zero. From that zero baseline, we will 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.
“But there is a troubling trend here beyond the national security nonsense inherent in this silly idea. This is just the most recent example of an administration at war with people of faith in this country. Investing tax dollars promoting a lifestyle many Americas of faith find so deeply objectionable is wrong.
“President Obama has again mistaken America’s tolerance for different lifestyles with an endorsement of those lifestyles. I will not make that mistake.”
Nonsense in the service of hatred. The policy doesn’t spend any money; in fact, it could well save us money because it could end up withholding assistance from nations that don’t respect human rights for gays (though not universally, of course; you know damn well we aren’t going to cut off aid to Pakistan over it). The notion that urging other nations not to throw gay people in jail or put them to death puts Obama “at war with people of faith” is simply repulsive — which is why it is not at all surprising. The Republican presidential race seems to be about which one can be more hateful and appalling than the others.