Dec. 6 (Bloomberg) -- The Obama administration will weigh how countries treat gays and lesbians in making decisions about foreign aid, according to a presidential memorandum released by the White House.
Laws prohibit same-sex sexual activity in many nations in the Middle East and Africa, and in two of the largest recipients of U.S. aid, Pakistan and Afghanistan. Homosexuality is punishable by death in Iran, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates and in some parts of Nigeria and Somalia.
“Gay rights are human rights,” Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said in Geneva, presenting the policy in a speech to the UN Human Rights Council.
President Barack Obama said in the document he is directing all agencies engaged abroad to make sure U.S. diplomacy and aid programs “promote and protect” the rights of gays and lesbians.The president appears to be signaling that, in the clash between sharia-heeding nations and non-heteros, he plans to favour the latter. However, given his ongoing "outreach" efforts to the Islamic world and his enthusiasm for the (fictional) Arab Spring, it remains to be seen whether that will indeed be the case.