Obama: We should reaffirm our commitment to equality to fight anti-gay laws

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Barack Obama has said the world needs to “recommit” to the principle of equality to halt an upsurge in anti-gay discrimination, in a statement commemorating IDAHOT.

The US President wrote in a statement: “As we commemorate the 10th annual International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia, we recommit ourselves to the fundamental belief that all people should be treated equally, that they should have the opportunity to reach their fullest potential, and that no one should face violence or discrimination — no matter who they are or whom they love.

“This year, the United States celebrates the 60th anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education, the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act, and the 45th anniversary of the Stonewall riots.

“In doing so, we reflect on lessons learned from our own civil rights struggles and reaffirm our commitment to ensuring that the human rights of all people are universally protected.

“At a time when, tragically, we are seeing increased efforts to criminalize or oppress LGBT persons, we call on partners everywhere to join us in defending the equal rights of our LGBT brothers and sisters, and in ensuring they are treated with the dignity and respect they deserve.”

Obama’s statement did not make reference to the Employment Non-Discrimination act, a bill intended to protect people from discrimination at work based on sexual orientation and gender identity.

The bill is currently being stalled in the House of Representatives by Republicans, and Obama has been under pressure to pass an executive order introducing the measure.

Vice President Joe Biden recently said there would be “no downside” to an executive orderdespite White House Press spokesman Jay Carney describing it as “redundant”.

The US Secretary of State John Kerry added in a separate statement: “We know that our work is not complete when countries enact laws targeting LGBT persons and their supporters.

“We know that our work is not complete when LGBT persons and their allies are harassed, arrested, and even killed simply because of who they are and who they love.

“When our LGBT brothers and sisters are threatened anywhere, it is a threat to freedom, justice and dignity of people everywhere.

“The United States will continue to protect and promote the human rights of LGBT persons worldwide this day and every day.