GAY RIGHTS ARE HUMAN RIGHTS

I was deeply honored to accept an invitation from the Ambassador of the United States to a reception last week honoring the Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) community in Israel; together with parliamentary dignitaries from a range of political parties, representatives from other embassies (including at least two ambassadors), religious leaders and some of the great movers and shakers of Israel’s vibrant LGBT community.

The theme of the ambassador’s words as he addressed the guests resonates: “Gay rights are human rights; human rights include gay rights.”

 

I asked the ambassador why the US embassy had initiated the event. He said: “Today is the eve of IDAHO – the International Day Against Homophobia. It is an appropriate day to fulfill a new US State Department policy of outreach, worldwide, to the LGBT community.”

Military policy in America followed Israel’s, after President Barack Obama cancelled the pernicious ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy that forced gay military personnel into the closet. He added: “Israel is a world leader in gay rights, thanks to the vibrant, active LGBT community, and we are delighted to host you, to honor your human rights activism.”

In his eloquent speech the ambassador reminded us that in almost 80 countries around the world, homosexuality is still considered illegal and that “throughout the world, human rights defenders are fighting for these very rights, and it is a credit to Israel and to all of you that here those rights are secure.”

The reception was held at the ambassador’s elegant residence in Herzlia Pituach. Guests mingled in high spirits raising our hopes that we might yet to live to see the day that the USA recognizes the right of single-sex couples to marry. Israel is far, far ahead of most States in the USA and even of most Western nations as far as protecting the human rights of the LGBT community.

 I might even live to see civil and single-sex marriages become legal in Israel.

Then it will have all been worth it. That will be our gift to coming generations.

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