The Trump administration is launching a global effort to decriminalize homosexuality in a campaign that will be led by U.S. Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell, who is openly gay.
NBC News was the first to report on the campaign. It cited unnamed sources, although Grenell wrote about the issue this month in Bild, a German newspaper.
One of the campaign’s goals is to put pressure on Iran, which hung a man for being gay. The U.S. embassy in Berlin flew in European LGBT activists Tuesday night for a strategy dinner, NBC reported.
“It is concerning that, in the 21st century, some 70 countries continue to have laws that criminalize LGBTI status or conduct,” said a U.S. official involved in organizing the event.
Homosexuality is punishable by death in Iran. The Jerusalem Post reported that the 31-year-old gay man was hung on charges of gay sex and for kidnapping two 15-year-olds.
In his column for Bild, Grenell said the kidnapping charges likely were false.
“In Iran, where children as young as nine can be sentenced to death, gay teenagers are publicly hanged in order to terrify and intimidate others from coming out,” Grenell wrote. “Iran’s horrific actions are on par with the brutality and savagery regularly demonstrated by ISIS.
“Being gay,” Grenell wrote, “is a death sentence in eight countries and criminalized in 70 more. LGBT status or conduct means arrest, imprisonment, and violence for people who are simply dating or falling in love. Governments that are Members of the United Nations have an obligation to protect, respect, and uphold the dignity and fundamental freedoms of their people.”
Homosexuality also is illegal in Saudi Arabia, United Arab Emirates, Pakistan and Afghanistan.
“People can disagree philosophically about homosexuality, but no person should ever be subject to criminal penalties because they are gay,” Grenell wrote.
Michael Foust is a freelance writer. Visit his blog, MichaelFoust.com
Photo courtesy: Clem Onojeghuo/Unsplash
Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, The Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.