Cambodian PM Hun Sen Urges End to Anti-Gay Discrimination

Cambodia's Prime Minister Hun Sen, who in October 2007 publicly cut ties with his lesbian daughter, has spoken out in support of gays and lesbiand and urged his countrymen to curtail anti-gay discrimination, the AP reports:

HunsenGay rights is not a major issue in Cambodia, and Hun Sen seemed to have been inspired by discussions of the subject on International Human Rights Day on Monday, including on local television. Cambodian society, as in neighboring Thailand, is generally tolerant of homosexuality.

He said he had heard requests from gay Cambodians that they be able to enjoy the same rights and freedoms as others.

"There are gays and lesbians in every country, so there should be no discrimination against them just because of their destiny," he said…

…he appealed to society to show respect for gay people, saying "Most of them are good people and are not doing alcohol, drugs or racing vehicles."

The Cambodian leader made international headlines in 2007 when he publicly cut ties with his lesbian daughter. Said Hun Sen to more than 3,000 assembled at a school graduation ceremony in Phnom Penn: "My adopted daughter now has a wife. I'm quite disappointed. We are concerned that she might one day cause us trouble … and try to stake her claim for a share of our assets."

At that time, Hun Sen also reportedly urged Cambodians not to discriminate against gays and lesbians. Comments about his daughter were reportedly omitted when the speech was aired on state media.

In 2004, Cambodia's King Sihanouk spoke out about gays and lesbians, saying "I am not gay, but I respect the rights of gays and lesbians. It's not their fault if God makes them born like that."


  1. bambinoitaliano says

    The difference is, there’s no financial gain regarding equality issue. Give it to the Americans, where there’s a buck to be made, even over death bodies, they will seize it!

  2. Kyle says

    King Sihanouk wasn’t gay but his son and successor and current King of Cambodia, King Sihamoni, is gay. He’s “openly closeted” in the same vein that Anderson Cooper was. This kind of open dialogue about homosexuality in Cambodia may encourage him to come out publicly. In case you’re wondering, Kings are chosen in Cambodia by a council–kind of like Popes–so procreation isn’t necessary for succession.

  3. ratbastard says

    Amusing considering child sex trade, people selling their own kids into sexual slavery, etc. are commonplace in this part of our world. It’s probably the #1 reason you have some western and other men holiday in parts of southeast Asia: the child sex trade.

  4. Erik says

    Aside from parts of India, don’t visit Cambodia unless you like crying. I’ve been to 40-50 countries, and it was devastating. Good for him on making progress.

  5. JamesinMA says

    First of all, who knew the real problem with the gays was car racing? It’s fascinating that in the U.S. we’re accused of destroying the “family” but in Cambodia it’s for being Too Fast And Too Furious. Also, what’s up with his Harvey Dent photo?

  6. andrew says

    Just one more example of how the tide of history is on the side of equality for LGBT people. Except, of course, in the backward world of Islam.

  7. Brian says

    King Sihanouk actually came out in favor of gay marriage years ago, and for a while it was uncertain whether that meant that Cambodia actually had gay marriage (turned out it didn’t).

    Ratbastard, families selling their kids into sexual slavery is hardly commonplace. I know the fantasy is embedded in western popular culture but it bears little resemblance to reality. You should get out more.