WASHINGTON — House Democrats are pushing civil rights protections for the global LGBT community with legislation that would force the State Department to document incidents of discrimination and ensure asylum programs for those fleeing persecution.
The bill is backed by senior Democrats in the House and advocates of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transexual community who want to establish U.S. leadership in protecting civil rights.
“No person should suffer from discrimination because of who they are or whom they love,” said Rep. Dina Titus, D-Nev., a member of the Foreign Affairs Committee and the sponsor of the legislation.
Earlier this month, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo announced the creation of the 10-member Commission on Unalienable Rights to review human rights in American foreign policy.
Both sides critical
But the panel was criticized by both conservative and liberal advocacy groups. Chief among the complaints was President Donald Trump’s embrace of notorious world strongmen such as North Korea’s Kim Jong Un and Rodrigo Duterte of the Philippines, both implicated in human rights violations.
House Foreign Affairs Chairman Eliot Engel, D-N.Y., also said the commission would work to narrow the reproductive rights of women and limit rights for minorities and LGBT groups.
Engle said he backed the Titus bill and her leadership on the legislation.
“We simply cannot look the other way,” Engel said. “This measure would ensure that pushing back against this sort of injustice is a foreign policy priority.”
Titus noted that the Trump administration has yet to fill the position of special envoy for human rights of LGBT people at the State Department.
Foreign Affairs Committee next
The Greater Leadership Overseas for Benefit of Equality, or GLOBE Act, would codify the special envoy position and document cases of discrimination at home and abroad.
The bill will be taken up by the Foreign Affairs Committee, where it is expected to be approved and moved to the House for consideration.