Republican billionaires to fund HRC international LGBT advocacy program

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On Sunday, the Human Rights Campaign announced its plan to launch an initiative to support international LGBT advocacy groups and to expose Americans who support anti-gay causes and legislation overseas. American billionaire businessmen Daniel Loeb and Paul Singer will provide the program’s initial funding.

An HRC press release outlined the new program’s goals:

“In keeping with HRC’s mission to end discrimination against LGBT people, the grants will help fund efforts to educated Americans on the human rights of LGBT people around the world; provide fellowships at HRC for foreign LGBT advocates; expose the work of prominent anti-gay American organizations that have pushed anti-gay laws and legislation overseas; and leverage its relationships with American policymakers, faith communities, corporations and other change agents to help protect the human rights of LGBT people abroad.”

Loeb and Singer, both conservative hedge-fund billionaires, have each committed to a donation of $1.5 million.

“Every day around the world, LGBT individuals face arrest, imprisonment, torture and even execution just for being who they are,” Singer said. “Some of the worst offenders in this area also happen to be the same regimes that have dedicated themselves to harming the United States and its democratic allies across the globe. As an organization that has been at the forefront of the equality movement for over three decades, the Human Rights Campaign is uniquely positioned to work in tandem with NGOs to empowers LGBT and human rights advocates abroad and help stop these abuses.”

Loeb added, “I am proud to support HRC’s new initiative to protect LGBT rights globally. The challenges the LGBT community faces are acute in many countries, where discrimination takes violent and sometimes deadly forms. As we witnessed in its successful campaign to advance marriage equality in the United States, HRC is a uniquely effective organization that achieves what it sets out to do. I am confident this new program will have an enormous and enforcing civil rights for LGBT people across the world.”

HRC President Chad Griffin said that while great progress has been made around the world, there are still many countries where human rights for LGBT people are violated every day.

“Expanding HRC’s ability to work in coalition with international LGBT human rights defenders will hasten the day when LGBT people are free from hate-based violence and equality is a reality for all,” said Griffin.

Singer, whose own son is gay and married his partner in Massachusetts in 2009, has donated extensively from his own pocket to support gay rights and marriage equality. Additionally, he has worked to raise thousands for same-sex marriage legalization in New York. He is also a founding member of American Unity PAC, an organization that backs GOP candidates who support marriage equality.

Loeb is also an eminent advocate of LGBT rights. He worked closely with Governor Andrew Cuomo and the New York Legislature on the state’s successful effort to legalize marriage equality in 2011. He was also a funder of the Perry lawsuit (Hollingsworth v. Perry). The lawsuit, sponsored by the American Foundation for Equal Rights, helped to reinstate same-sex marriage in California.

Both Singer and Loeb told the New York Times that LGBT rights coincide, not conflict with, their conservative values.

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