State Dept. should allow embassies to advocate for marriage equality, Democrats say
Over 60 Democrats from the House of Representatives have asked the State Department to allow U.S. embassies to advocate for marriage equality abroad.
The representatives signed on to a letter sent to Secretary of State Antony Blinken on Tuesday criticizing the State Department’s “outdated policy” that prohibits even the discussion of marriage equality abroad.
“The State Department maintains a ‘neither for nor against’ policy,” the letter states, “whereby our diplomats are barred from addressing marriage or partnership rights for same-sex couples.”
The letter recognized that many countries continue to criminalize LGBTQ+ identities, but said in others, there are active conversations about legalizing marriage equality.
“There are now 29 countries, including in Asia and in Central America, that affirm marriage for same-sex couples,” it said. “Where marriage is a significant public issue abroad, we trust you would want your Administration to be standing on the right side of history.”
Supporters of the letter explained to The Hill that they are not asking to advocate for marriage equality in every single country, as in some places where LGBTQ+ identities are still criminalized, it could negatively affect the LGBTQ+ rights movement.
In nations that are actively discussing marriage equality, however, the ability for the U.S. to join the discourse could make a big difference.
“We’re at a point now where having embassies in Chile, or Japan, or the Czech Republic, speak in favor of marriage equality, and where that is a live issue, it would be helpful,” said Mark Bromley, chair of the Council for Global Equality.
A spokesperson from the State Department told NBC News that they are “giving the question our fullest consideration, but, married or not, LGBTQI+ couples and their families are valid and valuable.”
In February, President Biden issued a memorandum committing his administration to advancing the human rights of LGBTQ+ people around the world.
“It shall be the policy of the United States to pursue an end to violence and discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or sex characteristics,” the memorandum said, “and to lead by the power of our example in the cause of advancing the human rights of LGBTQI+ persons around the world.”
The letter referenced that memorandum and said part of leading by example “means that our diplomats should have the ability to explain why the Supreme Court found marriage equality to be a constitutional right.”
filed under: state department, Antony Blinken, Democrats, marriage equality, marriage equality abroad, criminalization of homosexuality, LGBTQ+ marriage