Tillerson acknowledges Pride month

By : MICHAEL K. LAVERS of the Washington Blade, courtesy of the National Gay Media Association
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Secretary of State Rex Tillerson on Wednesday issued a statement that acknowledges Pride month.

“The Department of State affirms its solidarity with the human rights defenders and civil society organizations working around the world to uphold the fundamental freedoms of LGBTI persons to live with dignity and freedom,” he said.

“We also recognize that LGBTI persons continue to face the threat of violence and discrimination,” added Tillerson in his statement. “Violence and discrimination targeting any vulnerable group undermines our collective security as well as American values. When all persons are protected on the basis of equality and with dignity, global stability is strengthened. We will continue to support the human rights of LGBTI persons together with like-minded governments, businesses, and civil society organizations globally.”

Tillerson also said the U.S. “remains committed to human rights and fundamental freedoms for all persons. Dignity and equality for all persons are among our founding constitutional principles, and these principles continue to drive U.S. diplomacy.”

Tillerson’s statement comes less than a week after the State Department confirmed to the Washington Blade that embassies and consulates have received guidance that allows them to recognize Pride month.

President Trump has yet to issue a proclamation that officially recognizes Pride month, although Ivanka Trump on June 2 wished “everyone a joyful #Pride2017” and said she is “proud to support my LGBTQ friends and the LGBTQ Americans who have made immense contributions to our society and economy.” Neither the White House nor Tillerson have yet to publicly comment on the ongoing crackdown against gay men in Chechnya.

Florida Congresswoman Debbie Wasserman Schultz last month told participants of the World OutGames Miami Human Rights Conference in Miami Beach, Fla.,that Secretary of State Rex Tillerson’s assertion the U.S. may have to set aside human rights in the name of promoting U.S. interests abroad is “morally repugnant and unacceptable.”

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