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US Democrats propose national travel ban on foreign anti-gay officials

US Democrats propose national travel ban on foreign anti-gay officials

A prominent Democratic senator has introduced legislation that would deny entry into the United States to non-citizens who are involved in the persecution of LGBTI people around the world.

Senator Jeane Shaheen’s Global Respect Act targets ‘foreign persons responsible for, complicit in, or who incited extrajudicial killing, torture, or other gross violations of human rights based on actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity.’

Those identified by the US State Department as falling into that category would be denied visas if they tried to apply for one or otherwise prevent them from entering the country.

The bill is supported by American LGBTI rights group the Human Rights Campaign (HRC) who say it will ‘send a signal to world leaders and officials that they cannot persecute LGBT people, seek to travel to the US and expect to be welcomed here.’

‘Millions of LGBT people around the world continue to suffer unimaginable violence and discrimination under oppressive laws and regimes,’ HRC president Chad Griffin said.

‘The Global Respect Act sends a clear message to political leaders of these countries that when they violate the human rights of LGBT people, the US Government will hold them accountable.’

Senator Shaheen said she hoped the bill, if passed, would send a powerful message to the international community and a warning to those who aim to persecute people based on their sexual orientation or gender identity around the world.

‘While we’ve seen tremendous progress towards equality in the United States, the fact remains that the LGBT  community is still under threat both here at home and around the world,’ Senator Shaheen said.

‘No one should live in fear of physical violence or oppression because of their sexual orientation or sexual identity.’

Five other Democratic senators have cosponsored the bill with Senator Shaheen.

The bill was previously introduced in the House of Representatives where it received 26 cosponsors.

The bill would not stop US citizens from going abroad and stirring up homophobic reactions in other countries but if countries launched a crackdown on LGBTI people they could find their officials or those who were instrumental in calling for the crackdown barred from entering the United States.