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."