A US lawmaker sees no connection between human rights and LGBTI equality.
On 27 January, during hearing on Nigeria, Representative Chris Smith separated gay and human rights.
‘I am a strong believer in traditional marriage and I do not construe homosexual rights as human rights,’ the New Jersey Republican said, according PolitickerNJ.
He then wondered if ‘the (Obama) Administration’s views on LGBT rights affected or hindered our support for Nigeria to defeat Boko Haram.’
Smith is a member of the the House Foreign Affairs Committee and chairs the House Subcommittee on Human Rights.
The day before the congressman’s comment, 12 men were arrested by the Islamic state police Hisbah on the outskirts on the northern city of Kano.
They are accused of holding a ‘gay wedding.’
In a statement blasting Smith, the Human Rights Coalition referenced the arrests.
‘On a day when 12 men were reportedly arrested for simply attending an alleged LGBT wedding in Nigeria, and as reports keep emerging about the impact of Nigeria’s anti-LGBT law on the lives of Nigerians, it is unconscionable that Representative Smith would not only object to the basic human rights of LGBT people, but argue that their rights should not be part of the administration’s policy in Nigeria,’ Ty Cobb, director of HRC Global, said in a statement.
A Republican organization in Smith’s home state also took him to task.
According to PolitickerNJ, Equality GOP New Jersey issued a statement reminding the representative gay equality is part of the United Nations Declaration on Human Rights.
‘There is no greater violation of an individual’s human rights and no more tangible a threat to human rights universally than state-sanctioned violence against a living human being based on sexual orientation or gender identity,’ Equality GOP NJ continued.