ABC News' Kirit Radia (@kiritradia_abc) reports:
Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said New York’s vote to allow gay marriage gives momentum to the global movement, but said much remains to be done around the world.
“If we can convince people to speak out about their own personal experiences, particularly within their own families, it does begin to change the dialogue,” Clinton said, referencing a Republican State Senator from the Buffalo area who spurred colleagues to speak about how they would not want loved ones to be discriminated against.
“From their own personal connections and relationships, they began to make the larger connection with somebody else's niece or nephew or grandchild, and what that family must feel like,” she said in an address to a group of LGBT foreign service officers, during which she was honored with their first annual award for advancing gay rights.
In remarks to the same group last year Clinton declared that gay rights are human rights, a take on her 1995 Beijing declaration about women’s rights. Since then, Clinton’s diplomats have put that into action around the world, including the US Ambassador to Italy who helped bring Lady Gaga to a gay pride parade in Rome.
“We made it absolutely clear that so far as the United States is concerned, and our foreign policy and our values, that gay rights are human rights, and human rights are gay rights,” Clinton repeated today.
In December Secretary Clinton made one of the first celebrity “It Gets Better” videos, providing hope to LGBT youth after a spate of high-profile suicides raised the profile of bullying victims.
More recently, the US helped usher in statements of support for gay rights in the United Nations and its Human Rights Council.
Today Clinton said despite gains in the past year, “we cannot forget how much work lies ahead.”
“Life is getting better for people in many places, and it will continue to get better thanks to our work,” she said, calling the fight for gay rights “one of the most urgent and important human rights struggles of all times.”
“It is not easy, but it is so rewarding,” Clinton said.
- Kirit Radia