I am pleased to join President Obama and Secretary Kerry in applauding the Supreme Court’s decision to strike down the Defense of Marriage Act. Their decision is especially significant during the month of June as the President, Secretary of State and I celebrate Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender (LGBT) Pride Month. At the United States Agency for International Development (USAID), equality is not only a matter of human rights but also critical to sustainable, comprehensive and inclusive development.
As development professionals, our actions and work must reflect the values of democracy, human rights and inclusion. Our Agency has been instrumental in advancing these principles for LGBT communities. All of our efforts—from HIV/AIDS programs to humanitarian assistance—are based on principles of nondiscrimination and equitable access.
Earlier this year, we helped forge the LGBT Global Development Partnership, an unprecedented public private alliance that will help strengthen civil society organizations and empower LGBT individuals in the democratic process. We also launchedBeing LGBT in Asia, the first regional analysis of the challenges LGBT communities face. Together, these initiatives and others like them will deepen our ability to engage and support LGBT communities with evidence-based programs and high-impact partnerships.
In our workplace, we are committed to a diverse and inclusive environment in which all employees are recognized as vital members of our community and essential to the success of our mission. USAID, through our Office of Human Resources, will work with the Departments of State and Justice, Office of Personnel Management, other agencies and our union representatives to review all relevant benefits, policies and procedures and make changes to ensure that they are in line with yesterday’s court decisions. We know that our LGBT employees and their spouses and families are eager to access their due benefits, and although it may take time and patience from all of us, our Agency is committed to implement these quickly and judiciously.
Through USAID’s inclusive development efforts, we are committed to ensuring that all citizens—no matter who they are or whom they love—are equally empowered to secure their human rights and better lives for themselves, their families and their communities.
Read more about USAID’s work on LGBT inclusive development at http://www.usaid.gov/what-we-do/democracy-human-rights-and-governance/protecting-human-rights/advancing-lgbti-human-rights.
- Cross posted at USAID