In a press conference on Nov. 30, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton made what is being called “the strongest statement yet by an administration official” regarding LGBT issues, The Advocate reports.
Clinton, in addressing national funding used to combat HIV/AIDS, stated countries criminalizing homosexuality, or attempting to do so, will not be tolerated.
“Obviously, our efforts are hampered whenever discrimination or marginalization of certain populations results in less effective outreach and treatment,” Clinton said. “So we will work not only to ensure access for all who need it but also to combat discrimination more broadly.”
Clinton later announced the XIX International AIDS Conference will be held in the United States in 2012, adding, “We have to stand against any efforts to marginalize and criminalize and penalize members of the LGBT community worldwide.”
Currently Uganda holds pending legislation that would potentially introduce life sentences to those engaging in gay sex. The legislation also extends the death penalty to those who repeat the act, or who are HIV-positive, calling it “aggravated homosexuality.” The U.S. recently pledged $250 million to the country, all of which could be denied if the legislation passes.
Eric Goosby, Ambassador and U.S. Global AIDS Coordinator, commented on Clinton’s statement and the situation in Uganda after supporters of HIV/AIDS became concerned.
“My role is to be supportive and helpful to the patients who need these services,” Goosby said. “It is not to tell a country how to put forward their legislation.”
Clinton concluded the conference with words of support towards the future and World AIDS Day.
“So as we look to 2012, we have to continue to seek a global solution to this global problem. On World AIDS Day, let us renew our commitment to ensuring that those infected and affected by HIV — the woman on treatment who is supporting her family, the child who dropped out of school to care for sick parents, the doctors and nurses without adequate resources — that all those who have joined together to fight this pandemic will some day live in a world where HIV/AIDS can be prevented and treated as a disease of the past.”
For more information, and for the full text of the speech, visit the Advocate online by clicking here