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John Kerry Hub



04/19/2007


Lawmakers Demand Action from John Kerry on Russia's Anti-Gay Laws and the Sochi Games

83 members of Congress, led by Rep. Jerrold Nadler (D-NY) have sent a letter to Secretary of State John Kerry asking "what efforts have been undertaken, especially efforts undertaken in coordination with other foreign governments" to assure the safety of LGBT athletes and visitors to Russia during the 2014 Sochi Olympic Games, the HuffPost reports.

NadlerSays the letter, in part:

We are writing to you regarding the troubling implications of a recently-enacted Russian law criminalizing actions or statements deemed to be in support of the lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) community. In light of the fact that the 2014 Winter Olympic and Paralympic Games are scheduled to be held in Sochi, Russia, we would like to know what diplomatic measures the State Department is planning to take to ensure that American LGBT athletes, staff and spectators, and their supporters, are not arrested, detained or otherwise penalized during the Sochi Games.

The law, signed by President Vladimir Putin on June 30th, will penalize any individuals or groups found to be publicly supportive of LGBT equality. Press reports have indicated that punishable offenses would include public acknowledgment of one’s orientation, displays of affection between same-sex partners, statements in support of LGBT rights, and the use of symbols such as rainbows that are attributed to the LGBT community. Foreign nationals found to be in violation of the law could be arrested and detained for up to 15 days.

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We are particularly troubled because while the newly signed law is the most recent and most extreme codification of Russia’s maltreatment of its LGBT citizens, it is also part of larger trend of anti-LGBT actions in Russia.

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 In light of the importance of U.S. leadership on LGBT issues, and the quickly-approaching Sochi Games, we urge the State Department to determine the appropriate course of action to assure the safety and well being of LGBT and LGBT— supporting individuals involved in or attending the 2014 Sochi Olympics and Paralympics. We look forward to hearing from you regarding what efforts have been undertaken, especially efforts undertaken in coordination with other foreign governments, and are committed to working together with you on this issue.


John Kerry Says Visa Applications from Gay Couples to be Treated Equally, Effective Immediately

Today at the U.S. Embassy in London, Secretary of State John Kerry said the U.S. will immediately begin treating visa applications from same-sex couples in the same manner as those from heterosexual couples.

KerryFrom Kerry's remarks, via the State Department:

I’m very pleased to be able to announce that effective immediately, when same-sex spouses apply for a visa, the Department of State will consider that application in the same manner that it will consider the application of opposite-sex spouses.  And here is exactly what this rule means:  If you are the spouse of a U.S. citizen, your visa application will be treated equally.  If you are the spouse of a non-citizen, your visa application will be treated equally.  And if you are in a country that doesn’t recognize your same-sex marriage, then your visa application will still be treated equally at every single one of our 222 visa processing centers around the world. 

Now, as long as a marriage has been performed in a jurisdiction that recognizes it so that it is legal, then that marriage is valid under U.S. immigration laws, and every married couple will be treated exactly the same, and that is what we believe is appropriate.  Starting next year, that will include same-sex couples from England and Wales, which just this year passed laws permitting same-sex marriage that will take effect in 2014. 

And as you know, more than two years ago, President Obama instructed our Department of Justice to stop enforcing DOMA.  Then just a few weeks ago, the Supreme Court of the United States declared DOMA unconstitutional.  Today, the State Department, which has always been at the forefront of equality in the federal government, I’m proud to say, is tearing down an unjust and an unfair barrier that for too long stood in the way of same-sex families being able to travel as a family to the United States. 

I am proud to say that I voted against DOMA, one of 14 votes against it and the only person running for election that year who voted against it, and it’s one of the better votes that I’ve cast.  It was the right vote then, it’s the right vote today.  And I’m pleased to make this announcement today because this is one of those moments where policy and values join together.  And I think those of you in the consular division, more than me or more than any of us back at the State Department on a daily basis, are going to bet you’d be the people who get to make this a reality for people.

So those of you working today in the consular section will make history when you issue some of the first visas to same-sex couples, and you will be some of the first faces to welcome them to the United States in an always – a country that obviously is always trying to tweak and improve and do better by the values around which we were founded.  You share in the great responsibility of making our country live its values, and you make possible the journey of those who want to visit our country for that reason and many more.


Secretary of State John Kerry Celebrates LGBT Pride Month: VIDEO

Kerry

Secretary of State John Kerry released a video today marking LGBT Pride Month.

Watch it, AFTER THE JUMP...

And here's a transcript of Kerry's remarks:

This month is about the assertion of equality and dignity.  It is about the affirmation of fundamental freedoms and human rights.  It is about people taking pride in who they are, no matter their sexual orientation or gender identity.  Protecting universal human rights is at the very heart of our diplomacy, and we remain committed to advancing human rights for all, including LGBT individuals.  We are committed to advancing these rights not just in the month of June, but year-round.

As Secretary, I join with my colleagues at our embassies, consulates, and USAID missions around the world in saying, no matter where you are, and no matter who you love, we stand with you.

Across the globe – in Africa, Asia, Europe, and the Americas – our diplomats are assisting local LGBT organizations and supporting local human rights advocates working to promote equality, create dialogue, and ensure protections for LGBT individuals.

Through the Global Equality Fund, the State Department has already provided critical emergency and long-term assistance to promote and protect the human rights of LGBT persons in over twenty-five countries.  And our support will continue to grow, in cooperation with other equality-minded governments, foundations and corporations.

Forty-four years after Stonewall, we see incredible progress in the fight to advance the human rights and fundamental freedoms of LGBT people, both here in the United States and globally.  Unfortunately, our work is not done.  Recent events underscore that despite progress, we still have a long way to go.  There are LGBT people of all ages, all races, and all faiths – citizens of every country on Earth.  And in too many places, LGBT people and their supporters are being attacked and harassed for simply being who they are and for standing up for their rights.

The United States condemns all such violence, harassment, and discrimination.  As President Obama said, “the struggle to end discrimination against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender persons is a global challenge, and one that is central to the United States’ commitment to promoting human rights.”  LGBT persons must be free to exercise their human rights – including freedom of expression, freedom of religion, and freedom of assembly and association – without fear of reprisal.

It is my honor to reaffirm the State Department’s commitment to promoting the human rights of LGBT persons, and indeed all human beings, worldwide.

To those celebrating Pride in the United States and around the world, I wish you all a Happy Pride month.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Secretary of State John Kerry Celebrates LGBT Pride Month: VIDEO" »


Code Pink Protester Interrupts Kerry Confirmation: VIDEO

KerryCodePink

As Senator John Kerry sat before his peers today to begin confirmation hearings for his Secretary of State nomination, a Code Pink activist stood up to protest drone and other targeted killings in the Middle East. You can watch the Talking Points Memo video, via Joe.My.God, AFTER THE JUMP.

Before that, though, take note that Kerry was asked about former Sen. Chuck Hagel's Defense Secretary nomination, a nomination marred by controversy over comments about gay people and Israel, and that Kerry said he thinks Hagel is a "strong patriotic former senator."

[GOP Sen. Bob] Corker asked Kerry whether Hagel's past involvement with Global Zero, an international group promoting the elimination of nuclear weapons, would be appropriate at the Defense Department.

"I think he is a strong patriotic former senator, and he will be a strong secretary of defense," Kerry responded. "And I think some of the things that have been -- some of the efforts to color Senator Hagel's approach on some of these things don't do justice."

"I don't think Hagel's going to sit there and going to go over to the Defense Department and a proponent [of Global Zero]," Kerry added.

Watch the protest video AFTER THE JUMP.

Continue reading "Code Pink Protester Interrupts Kerry Confirmation: VIDEO" »


Barney Frank Wants to Return to Washington as Senator: VIDEO

Frank

Barney Frank isn't finished, Politico reports:

Barney Frank, one day out of Congress, said on Friday that he has asked Massachusetts Gov. Deval Patrick to send him back as an interim senator when Sen. John Kerry becomes secretary of state.

“A month ago, or a few weeks ago, I said I wasn’t interested,” Frank said on MSNBC’s “Morning Joe.” “It was kind of like you’re about to graduate, and they said: ‘You gotta go to summer school.’ But [the fiscal cliff deal] now means that February, March and April are going to be among the most important months in American financial history.”

He added, “I’ve told the governor I would now like, frankly, to do that [serve as interim senator].”

Franks says he won't run for Kerry's seat in a summer special election.

Yesterday, he appeared on MSNBC on his final day as a Congressman, and talked about the 112th Congress, the worst ever.

Watch, AFTER THE JUMP...

Continue reading "Barney Frank Wants to Return to Washington as Senator: VIDEO" »


John Kerry to be Named as Secretary of State Nominee Today

The widely expected nomination of Senator John Kerry for Secretary of State is happening this afternoon, the NYT reports:

KerryPresident Obama plans to nominate Senator John Kerry of Massachusetts as secretary of state, a senior administration official said, succeeding Hillary Rodham Clinton and putting in place the first member of his second-term national security team...

...The decision by Mr. Obama, expected to be announced early Friday afternoon, comes at a time when Mrs. Clinton has been recovering from a concussion suffered earlier this month. Mrs. Clinton, who has long said she would leave the post after Mr. Obama’s first term, is not expected to attend the announcement.


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