15 Jun 2015
The nation’s openly gay ambassadors and a State Department envoy say President Obama’s proposed trade agreements “will export our values of equality and tolerance,” and “promote greater justice beyond our borders.” In an op-ed at The Advocate.com, which also ran at White House.gov, the eight openly gay U.S. representatives abroad say “trade policy” is one of the “most promising tools” to advance the meme that the LGBT agenda is the agenda that expresses America’s “values.”
The op-ed’s authors state that they are already promoting the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) and the Transatlantic Trade and Investment Partnership (T-TIP) abroad. “In speaking about these agreements, we often use the word ‘values,’” they write. “We promote transparency, public participation, accountability and the rule of law, and we advocate for our host countries to join us in setting the global standard.”
After all, an export is more than just an item we are shipping overseas. It is also a product of the values of the people who created it, which it represents. And while the United States has made important progress in promoting and protecting the human rights of all of its residents, we are constantly reminded of the challenges LGBTI persons continue to face in countries around the world.
We are proud to be part of an Administration that remains deeply committed to the advancement of human rights for all, including LGBTI persons. President Obama recently said that “all people deserve to live free from fear, violence, and discrimination, regardless of who they are or whom they love.” The Administration has backed up those words with actions, including through the issuance of a Presidential Memorandum to advance the human rights of LGBTI persons worldwide. This commitment is also clear in trade priorities like TPP, which would represent a significant expansion of enforceable labor rights, and would support the elimination of discrimination with respect to employment.
The op-ed is signed by the following openly gay ambassadors:
Daniel B. Baer, U.S. Ambassador to the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe
John Berry, U.S. Ambassador to Australia
Randy Berry, Special Envoy for the Human Rights of LGBTI Persons
James W. Brewster, U.S. Ambassador to Dominican Republic
James Costos, U.S. Ambassador to Spain
Rufus Gifford, U.S. Ambassador to Denmark
Robert Holleyman, Deputy United States Trade Representative
Ted Osius, U.S. Ambassador to Vietnam
As “Breitbart News reported last week, President Obama also said the Trans-Pacific Partnership (TPP) bill will advance his climate change agenda – and plans some “leverage” of his own. During an interview with Kai Ryssdal of Marketplace, Obama said, “If we want to solve something like climate change, which is one of my highest priorities, then I’ve got to be able to get into places like Malaysia, and say to them, this is in your interest.”
“What leverage do I have to get them to stop deforestation?” he asked. “Well part of the leverage is, if I’m in a trade relationship with them, that allows me to raise standards, now they have to start thinking about how quick they’re chopping down their forests and what kinds of standards they need to apply to environmental conservation.”