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Wall Street Leaders, LGBT Activists Meet on Davos Panel: VIDEO

Davos

CNN's Fareed Zakaria led a HuffPost and Microsoft sponsored panel on LGBT rights at the World Economic Forum in Davos which included  J-FLAG Executive Director Dane Lewis, Russian and American journalist Masha Gessen, Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin, Elliott Management Corporation founder Paul Singer, Third Point founder Dan Loeb and Alice Nkom, a lawyer and LGBT activist from Cameroon.

Watch the panel, AFTER THE JUMP...

The NYT reported on the panel, noting "the seeming unlikelihood that prominent investors would take a stand on gay rights":

Mr. Singer recounted how his son told him he was gay at the age of 21, prompting him to examine the issue of gay rights. Despite being one of the biggest donors to the Republican party — as the host, the journalist Fareed Zakaria, jokingly put it, the financier is both politically conservative and “really rich” — he has become one of the most active gay marriage proponents in finance.

When asked if he used his influence on politicians to push a pro-gay-marriage agenda, however, Mr. Singer demurred. But he added that would-be political beneficiaries are aware of his work.

“I don’t try to proselytize,” he said. “But they know that winning is better than losing.”

Mr. Singer reserved his highest praise for the panel that preceded his at the breakfast: Masha Gessen, a Russian lesbian activist who plans to move her family to the United States to avoid persecution; Alice Nkom, a lawyer from Cameroon who works alone to avoid endangering potential colleagues; and Dane Lewis, the head of the Jamaican advocacy group J-FLAG.

Watch the panel, AFTER THE JUMP...

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Human Rights Campaign Going International with Help from Republican Billionaires

New York hedge-fund billionaire Republicans Paul Singer, a major Romney supporter in 2012, and Daniel Loeb are funding a new Human Rights Campaign initiative to further LGBT rights internationally, reports NYT columnist Frank Bruni, who spoke with Singer at his offices in midtown Manhattan.

SingerWrites Bruni:

In this case, he was announcing a new project to be funded, at least at the outset, by him and other conservative donors but to be run by the Human Rights Campaign, an L.G.B.T. advocacy group in Washington, which is much more closely affiliated with Democrats. The initiative will be dedicated to fighting the victimization of gays and lesbians internationally. But it will also show that there are Republicans — not a majority, but an increasingly impassioned minority — who are intent on progress and justice for L.G.B.T. people. They won’t surrender that cause to Democrats, and they believe that Republicans who do so are resisting a future that’s both just and inevitable.

As you may recall, Singer's American Unity PAC assisted efforts to pass marriage equality in New York, Maine, and Maryland. Singer's son is gay.

Adds Bruni:

And the international initiative has a fascinating wrinkle. In addition to training L.G.B.T. advocates outside the United States and publicizing the failings of especially repressive countries, it intends to name and shame American religious zealots who sponsor antigay campaigns abroad. So Republican money may wind up challenging a constituency within the party. (We’re most definitely not in Kansas anymore.)

In Singer’s view, gay rights are consistent with a Republican philosophy of individual liberty, and gay marriage is “an augmenter of social stability, family stability and stability in raising kids.” In other words, it’s conservative.


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