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Secretary Clinton on Pride: 'Gay Issues' are 'Human Rights Issues!'

Secretary Clinton on Pride: 'Gay Issues' are 'Human Rights Issues!'

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton pledged that the United States will "advance a comprehensive human rights agenda that includes the elimination of violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity,” in a speech commemorating Pride month, Wednesday. Aside from the purely political point of her remarks Clinton added, "I was the first First Lady to march in a gay pride parade -- and it was so much fun!"

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton pledged that the United States will "advance a comprehensive human rights agenda that includes the elimination of violence and discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity,” in a speech commemorating Pride month, Wednesday.

Echoing her famous remarks 15 years ago before the U.N.'s Fourth World Conference on Women in Beijing, Clinton said that hatred and discrimination against LGBT citizens "are not 'gay' issues" but human rights issues at their core.

"I know that when you're in the midst of a great movement of change it seems like it is glacial," Clinton said. "But any fair assessment, from my perspective, having lived longer than at least more than 75% of you that I see in this room, is that it is extraordinary what has happened in such a short period of time."

Clinton was joined at the State Department ceremony by human rights activists from Africa, where draconian antigay legislation in Uganda, prison sentences for a gay couple in Malawi, and virulent homophobic rhetoric in Zimbabwe have all grabbed international attention in recent weeks and months.  

On the domestic agenda Clinton also spoke about three LGBT rights bills she cosponsored in the U.S. Senate - one that has since passed (the Matthew Shepard Local Law Enforcement Hate Crimes Prevention Act, signed into law by President Barack Obama in October) and two that have yet to receive a vote in either the House or the Senate (the Employment Non-Discrimination Act and the Domestic Partnership Benefits and Obligations Act).

Aside from the purely political point of her remarks Clinton added, "I was the first First Lady to march in a gay pride parade -- and it was so much fun!"

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