Republican congressman: ‘Homosexual rights are not human rights’

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A Republican congressman has been condemned for saying that he does “not construe homosexual rights as human rights.”

Chris Smith, who represents New Jersey’s 4th district in the US House of Representatives, made the comments during Tuesday’s sitting of the House Foreign Affairs Subcommittee on Africa, a day when 12 men were reportedly arrested for attending an alleged same-sex wedding in Nigeria.

The Lesbian Gay Bisexual Transgender Caucus of the New Jersey Democratic State Committee blasted the comments, calling them “close-minded and “appalling”.

“It’s simple: LGBT rights are human rights. It’s shocking that Smith — or anyone in his position — would make such close-minded comments to the contrary,” said Chris Hillmann, LGBT Caucus Co-Chair.

“For a person in his position to dehumanise such a large segment of our society and to suggest that members of the LGBT community are creating hurdles for US diplomats is appalling on so many levels. Representative Smith should apologise for trying to pit some people’s human rights against those of others.”

The caucus said Mr Smith’s position is particularly offensive given that he serves as Chairman of the House Foreign Affairs’ Subcommittee on Africa, Global Health, Global Human Rights, and International Organisations —a “position from which human rights should be defended, not attacked.”

Ty Cobb, Director of the Human Rights Campaign, said: “On a day when 12 men were reportedly arrested for simply attending an alleged LGBT wedding in Nigeria … it is unconscionable that Representative Smith would not only object to the basic human rights of LGBT people, but argue that their rights should not be part of the administration’s policy in Nigeria.”

In August last year, Mr Smith claimed that President Obama is “obsessed” with promoting gay rights.