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US Secretary of State John Kerry proud of advances US has made in LGBT equality

US Secretary of State John Kerry proud of advances US has made in LGBT equality

US Secretary of State John Kerry celebrated his country’s advances in LGBT equality on Friday (20 June) but said there must be ‘push back’ against a global trend of rising violence and discrimination against LGBT persons.

‘We can palpably feel the wave of new, growing – the trend if you will, in some places for anti-LGBT laws that are metastasizing in various places,’ Kerry said at the Gays and Lesbians in Foreign Affairs Agencies Pride Celebration.

‘For some it’s, obviously, easy to get alarmed by that. But let me just share this with you: I don’t think it’s time to get alarmed. I think it’s time to get active. Because your activism and your energy and your pushback – it won’t be the first time you’ve pushed back – can make all the difference in the world for a lot of people.’

Kerry singled out anti-LGBT laws and practices in Uganda, Russia and Iran where ‘that attack dignity, undermine safety, and violate human rights.’

‘Maybe all the success we’ve had here, we sort of felt, oh, gosh, it’s got to be happening everywhere else. But it hasn’t been. It’ll come. It’s going to take a while, and it’s going to take courage and patience, stamina in order to continue the fight. Because we need to make certain that we make it clear to people everywhere that there is a fundamental truth: Anti-LGBT violence anywhere is a threat to peace and stability and prosperity everywhere.’

Kerry said push back if effective and pointed to recent US history where the Defense of Marriage Act has been gutted, the military’s Don’t Ask Don’t Tell dismantled and the US president publicly embracing same-sex marriage.

‘So we have come a long way at home, but everybody here knows there’s cloud hanging over this journey right now,’ Kerry said. ‘We have a long, long way to go in the world.’

He said US diplomats in Asia, Africa, Europe and the Americas are supporting local LGBT organizations and human rights advocates.

‘We’re here today to send a message: No matter where you are, no matter who you love, we stand with you. And that’s what pride means, and that’s what drives us today.The journey isn’t complete, the march isn’t over, the promise isn’t perfected. But we will march on together.’