- The Washington Times - Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Vice president Joseph Biden said Tuesday evening that President Obama has put out the word that U.S. diplomats should press for more international acceptance of gay rights —  and that’s a good thing, given that support for the lesbian-gay-bisexual-transgender crowd was the pure mark of a “civilized” nation.

Meanwhile, national security adviser Susan Rice said just hours earlier that gay rights and protecting the LGBT community was proving one of America’s toughest foreign policy challenges, The Hill reported.

To a crowd of political leaders, Mr. Biden said: “[Gay rights] are the civil rights issue of our day,” and protecting LGBT citizens from persecution was a core duty of an “civilized country. I don’t care what your culture is. An inhumanity is an inhumanity is an inhumanity,” The Hill said.

Mr. Biden also brought up the fact that Lithuania’s government was considering taking the same legislative path as Russia and President Vladimir Putin, and implementing laws and penalties for public expressions of homosexuality. He also decried the ban on homosexual acts that’s part and parcel of about 80 countries’ legal systems, The Hill reported.

Still, Mr. Biden struck an optimistic tone with the direction America was taking on this issue.

“The only reason that change is taking place is because more and more of you have the courage … to stand up and say, ‘I’m gay, I’m lesbian, I’m transgender,’” he said, The Hill reported.

His remarks followed ones delivered by Ms. Rice just hours earlier, when she characterized the fight to protect the LGBT crowd as one of the nation’s most challenging foreign policy issues.

“Governments are responsible for protecting the rights of all citizens, and it is incumbent upon the state, and on each of us, to foster tolerance and to reverse the tide of discrimination,” she said, The Hill reported.

• Cheryl K. Chumley can be reached at cchumley@washingtontimes.com.

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