Vice President Joe Biden recently spoke during a reception in the Vice Presidential Mansion at the Naval Observatory addressing President Obama’s decision to direct US diplomacy and foreign assistant to promote global recognition of rights for LGBT people.
In attendance were leading LGBT rights activists and ambassadors from Britain, Sweden, Denmark, and Iceland.
“I don’t care what your culture is,” said Biden. “Inhumanity is inhumanity is inhumanity. Prejudice is prejudice is prejudice.”
Earlier this week, US National Security Adviser Susan Rice made a statement encouraging human rights groups to take a united stand against anti-LGBT discrimination throughout the world.
“To achieve lasting global change, we need everyone’s shoulder at the wheel,” she said, according to ABC News. “With more voices to enrich and amplify the message—that gay rights are straight-up human rights—we can open more minds.”
She acknowledged that it won’t be easy, as homophobia is deeply entrenched in some cultures and religions, but said that traditional values are not an acceptable reason to deny certain groups their basic rights.
“Governments are responsible for protecting the rights of all citizens, and it is incumbent on the state, and on each of us, to foster tolerance and reverse the tide of discrimination,” she stated. Seven of Africa’s countries allow the death penalty as a punishment for homosexual sex, and the laws within others are becoming increasingly harsh.
While on a trip to Africa in 2013, Obama urged African politicians and lawmakers to expand equal rights protections to cover LGBT people. The president of Senegal objected, saying that the people of his country still aren’t “ready” for tolerance.
Rice said, “The United States government will continue to beat back barriers and speak out on behalf of rights for people the world over. We do this both because it’s our moral obligation, and because it’s in our interests. Nations that protect human rights are more stable, peaceful and prosperous partners for the United States.”