John Kerry Hub




John Kerry Points Finger at Russia Over Downing of MH17: VIDEO

Mh19_kerry

Secretary of State John Kerry pointed fingers at Russia over the crash of MH17 over Ukraine.

Said Kerry:

"We know from intercepts ... that those are in fact the voices of separatists. And now we have a video showing a launcher moving back through a particular area there out into Russia with at least one missing missile on it....This is the moment of truth for Russia. Russia is supporting these separatists. Russia is arming these separatists. Russia is training these separatists. And Russia has not yet done the things necessary in order to try to bring them under control."

Watch Kerry on CNN's State of the Union and FOX News Sunday, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "John Kerry Points Finger at Russia Over Downing of MH17: VIDEO" »


Secretary of State John Kerry Speaks at LGBT Pride Event at State Department: VIDEO

Kerry

Secretary of State John Kerry addressed the annual Gays and Lesbians in Foreign Affairs Agencies Pride Celebration on Thursday, speaking about the State Departments accomplishments for LGBT people under his tenure, praising Robyn McCutcheon, the first out transgender foreign service officer as well as Russian journalist Masha Gessen for her work exposing human rights abuses against LGBT people.

Kerry spoke about his pride at being the first sitting Secretary of State to support same-sex marriage and discussed the growing number of out LGBT people now working at foreign U.S. agencies worldwide, citing the activists (including our own David Mixner) who have helped the movement along the way.

Kerry also noted that the battle has really just begun in other parts of the world:

So we have come a long way at home, but everybody here knows there’s cloud hanging over this journey right now.  We have a long, long way to go in the world.  I won’t go into the details of a couple of conversations I’ve had with presidents of countries trying to move them on their current laws.  From Uganda to Russia to Iran, LGBT communities face discriminatory laws and practices that attack dignity, undermine safety, and violate human rights.  And we each have a responsibility to push back against a global trend of rising violence and discrimination against LGBT persons.  Maybe all the success we’ve had here, we sort of felt, oh, gosh, it’s got to be happening everywhere else.  But it hasn’t been.  It’ll come.  It’s going to take a while, and it’s going to take courage and patience, stamina in order to continue the fight.

Kerry ended his speech on this note:

We’re here today to send a message:  No matter where you are, no matter who you love, we stand with you.  And that’s what pride means, and that’s what drives us today.  The journey isn’t complete, the march isn’t over, the promise isn’t perfected.  But we will march on together.

Watch and read the full transcript, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Secretary of State John Kerry Speaks at LGBT Pride Event at State Department: VIDEO" »


Friday Speed Read: Family Leave, Uganda, David Cicilline, John Kerry, Presbyterian Church, Gaydar

BY LISA KEEN / Keen News Service

LaborOBAMA MOVES ON FAMILY LEAVE:

The Department of Labor will announce this morning that it will propose regulations on the Family and Medical Leave Act to clarify that an employee is eligible for FMLA leave to care for a same-sex spouse even if the employee lives in a state that does not recognize marriages of same-sex couples.

U.S. PENALIZES UGANDA:

MuseveniA spokesperson for the National Security Council announced Thursday that the U.S. is taking action in response to the Ugandan government’s enactment of its Anti-Homosexuality Act. The statement from press spokeswoman Caitlin Hayden said the U.S. would deny entry to the United States by “certain Ugandan officials involved in serious human rights abuses, including against LGBT individuals.” It said the U.S. would also discontinue or “redirect” funding for the Ugandan police, health ministry, and public health institute. A separate White House blog statement identified $5.4 million in discontinued or redirected funding but said the Obama administration would not identify which individuals would be barred from the U.S.

CICILLINE INTROS BILL: Cicilline

Openly gay U.S. Rep. David Cicilline (D-RIs) introduced a bill Thursday to bar from the U.S. any foreigner who has “committed or incited gross violations” of human rights of LGBT people. Four of the seven openly gay members of the House signed on as co-sponsors: Reps. Jared Polis, Sean Maloney, Mark Pocan, and Mark Takano.

NOT JUST ANOTHER SPEECH: Kerry

Secretary of State John Kerry seemed to go above and beyond the call of duty Thursday in delivering remarks to a Pride event of the in-house group Gays and Lesbians in Foreign Affairs Agencies (GLIFFA). Kerry spoke at length and answered some tough questions. He lavished praise on GLIFFA President Robyn McCutcheon, most recently a foreign service officer in Bucharest. In the Q&A, two GLIFFA members noted that they’ve seen resistance by many countries to issuing a visa to their same-sex spouse. “This is a serious obstacle that is hurting us in our careers and hurting our families,” said one member. Kerry said he has instructed U.S. embassies “to inform governments locally that this is our policy and that they need to honor our policy….And where they don’t…at some point in time, we may have to begin to make it clear to them that that can affect one program or another or the choices that we make. It’s not going to be a normal relationship.”

PRESBYTERIANS VOTE ‘YES’: Presbyterian

The governing body of the 1.8 million-member Presbyterian Church USA voted 371 to 238 Thursday to allow their clergy to conduct wedding ceremonies for same-sex couples. The denomination’s General Assembly, meeting in Detroit, also voted 429 to 175 to amend its governing constitution to define marriage as a “unique commitment between two people.” The constitutional change requires ratification by regional presbyteries. The clergy-ceremony vote takes effect Saturday.

WHEN STRAIGHT PEOPLE TRY TO OPERATE GAYDAR: Eric_cantor

Here’s what former Montana Governor Brian Schweitzer, a Democrat, said to a National Journal reporter when asked for his reaction to Republican House Majority Leader Eric Cantor’s recent primary loss: “…men in the South, they are a little effeminate….They just have effeminate mannerisms. If you were just a regular person, you turned on the TV, and you saw Eric Cantor talking, I would say—and I'm fine with gay people, that's all right—but my gaydar is 60-70 percent. But he's not, I think, so I don't know. Again, I couldn't care less. I'm accepting." Schweitzer later apologized for his “stupid and insensitive remarks.”

© 2014 Keen News Service. All rights reserved.


Tuesday Speed Read: Obama, James Costos, Colorado, Brunei, Charlie Crist, Phil Bryant

BY LISA KEEN / Keen News Service

Blue_obamaOBAMA PREPS EXECUTIVE ORDER:

The White House indicated Monday that President Obama has “directed his staff” to prepare an executive order to prohibit federal contractors from discriminating against employees on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. The White House official could not say how soon President Obama intends to sign the executive order. But the news comes during Pride Month, just two weeks before the White House hosts its annual reception in celebration of Pride Month, and just one day before President Obama is scheduled to be at an LGBT-related fundraiser for the Democratic National Committee in New York.

HIGH MAINTENANCE HOUSE GUESTS:

CostosThe openly gay U.S. ambassador to Spain and his partner hosted President Obama, the First Lady, and eldest daughter Malia at their house in Rancho Mirage, California, over the Father’s Day weekend, according to the Desert Sun. Ambassador James Costos and his partner, White House decorator Michael Smith, have a home in a gated community known as Thunderbird Heights. The President and First Lady headed back to Washington on Monday morning.

SENATE AGREES TO VOTE ON NOMINEES:

GaylesThe U.S. Senate voted 55 to 37 Monday to proceed to a vote on the confirmation of Darrin Gayles to the U.S. district court in Miami and, in a separate but identical vote, to proceed to a vote on the nomination of Staci Yandle to a district court seat in Illinois. If confirmed, Gayles will become the first openly gay African American to be appointed to a federal court bench. Yandle won’t be the first openly lesbian African American appointed to the bench but, if confirmed, she will be the first openly gay federal judge named to the bench in Illinois. The confirmation votes for both are  scheduled for 11 a.m. EDT Tuesday.

ColoradoCOLORADO JUDGE HEARS TWO CASES:

A state district court judge in Denver on Monday heard two consolidated lawsuits challenging the state’s ban on same-sex couples marrying. The Denver Post reported that Adams County District Court Judge Scott Crabtree expressed skepticism for the state’s contention that 15 federal and state judges before him erred in finding similar bans unconstitutional.

LETTERS PILE ON AGAINST BRUNEI:

KerryMore than 100 members of the U.S. House signed onto a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry last Thursday, urging that the U.S. halt negotiations with the government of Brunei on the Trans-Pacific Partnership agreement. Noting Brunei’s recent adoption of draconian penalties for being gay, the letter argues that such agreements must insist that participating nations “adhere to internationally recognized civil, political, and human rights standards.” All seven openly LGBT members of the House signed on. Four national LGBT groups also sent a similar letter last week to President Obama regarding Brunei’s brutal laws against LGBT people.

CristEQUALITY FLORIDA AND HRC ENDORSE CRIST:

The statewide LGBT group Equality Florida and the Human Rights Campaign both made independent announcements last Thursday that they are endorsing Democratic candidate Charlie Crist for the Florida governor’s race in November. Crist has a primary in August but is expected to win the nomination easily against two little-known candidates.

BryantCENTRAL PARK GREETING:

A small group of protesters followed Mississippi Governor Phil Bryant around Central Park Saturday to express their unhappiness with the state’s new “religious freedom” law, which goes into effect July 1. The protesters, which included members of GetEQUAL Mississippi, staged a mostly silent protest, and some hosted their own “Big Gay Mississippi Welcome” dinner, according to the Hattiesburg American.

© copyright 2014 by Keen News Service. All rights reserved.


President Obama, John Kerry Release Statements Marking International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia

2_obamaTomorrow is IDAHO, and the President has taken note:

Tomorrow, as we commemorate the 10th annual International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia, we recommit ourselves to the fundamental belief that all people should be treated equally, that they should have the opportunity to reach their fullest potential, and that no one should face violence or discrimination -- no matter who they are or whom they love.

This year, the United States celebrates the 60th anniversary of Brown v. Board of Education, the 50th anniversary of the Civil Rights Act, and the 45th anniversary of the Stonewall riots. In doing so, we reflect on lessons learned from our own civil rights struggles and reaffirm our commitment to ensuring that the human rights of all people are universally protected.

At a time when, tragically, we are seeing increased efforts to criminalize or oppress LGBT persons, we call on partners everywhere to join us in defending the equal rights of our LGBT brothers and sisters, and in ensuring they are treated with the dignity and respect they deserve.

KerrySecretary of State John Kerry also released a statement:

Today of all days, we are reminded that the cause of justice can and must triumph over hatred and prejudice. This is a day of action for lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) communities and their allies all over the world. It is time to reaffirm our commitment to the equality and dignity of all persons, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity.

It’s not lost on anyone that this year’s International Day Against Homophobia and Transphobia (IDAHO) coincides with the 60th anniversary of the ruling in Brown v. Board of Education. Our commitment to advancing the human rights of LGBT persons is part of this country’s long history of fighting to ensure that all people can exercise their human rights.

We have seen incredible progress in the fight to advance the human rights and fundamental freedoms of LGBT persons.

And the United States is proud to be doing its part. This past week, we convened religious leaders and representatives of faith-based organizations to think about how we work together to promote and protect the human rights of LGBT persons. Next week, we will convene meetings with our private sector allies to discuss the important role of the business community in promoting equality and the ways we can partner through the Global Equality Fund.

But this must be more than a moment to celebrate how far we have come. We know that our work is not complete when countries enact laws targeting LGBT persons and their supporters. We know that our work is not complete when LGBT persons and their allies are harassed, arrested, and even killed simply because of who they are and who they love.

The United States condemns these senseless acts of violence and discrimination. Human rights are universal, and LGBT persons and their allies must be free to exercise them without fear of intimidation or reprisal.

When our LGBT brothers and sisters are threatened anywhere, it is a threat to freedom, justice and dignity of people everywhere. The United States will continue to protect and promote the human rights of LGBT persons worldwide this day and every day. Onward.


Secretary of State John Kerry Phoned Ugandan President to Discuss Anti-Gay Law's Impact

Secretary of State John Kerry spoke with Ugandan President Museveni yesterday via phone, according to a State Department memo from spokesperson Jen Psaki:

KerrySecretary Kerry expressed the United States’ deep disappointment in the Ugandan Government’s decision to enact the Anti-Homosexuality Bill. The Secretary noted that the decision complicates the U.S. relationship with Uganda. He also raised U.S. concerns that this discriminatory law poses a threat to the safety and security of Uganda’s LGBT community, and urged President Museveni to ensure the safety and protection of all Ugandan citizens.  The two also discussed the law’s negative impact on public health efforts including those to address HIV/AIDS, as well as on tourism and foreign investment in Uganda. 


Trending



Towleroad - Blogged