On behalf of the Department of State and USAID, I want to congratulate the Gays & Lesbians in Foreign Affairs Agencies on winning the Employee Resource Group of the Year Award by Out & Equal Workplace Advocates.
GLIFAA’s efforts with this Administration began when I received a letter signed by 2,200 employees, LGBT and straight, asking that they be treated equally and with the same respect. With recommendations from GLIFAA, we were able to quickly change the Department of State’s policy and provide benefits for same-sex partners of Foreign Service officers. And GLIFAA played a significant role in ensuring that other federal agencies followed suit. For more than 17 years, GLIFAA members have demonstrated an unwavering commitment to the rights of the global LGBT community.
At the State Department, we are starting to track violence against the LGBT community globally. The United States supports the UN Statement on Human Rights, Sexual Orientation, and Gender Identity, and condemns human rights violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity wherever they occur.
Human rights abuses are crimes against all of us. And we must recommit ourselves to expanding the full circle of human dignity. And while we have made progress here, and even throughout the world, there is much more to be done. We must condemn violence based on sexual orientation and gender identity, and not tolerate men and women being persecuted, singled out, or even murdered.
I promise to continue to fight for a world in which all people live free from violence and fear, regardless of who they are or whom they love. Once again, congratulations for this wonderful award. Your advocacy has created a lasting legacy, and I look forward to our mutual efforts toward a more equitable world.
Thank you all very much.