Trump Administration Launches Global Effort to Decriminalize Homosexuality — With Richard Grenell at the Helm

The Trump administration is launching a global effort to decriminalize homosexuality in the dozens of nations where it is still illegal to be gay.

The highest-profile openly gay person in the Trump administration, U.S. Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell, is leading the effort. According to a report from NBC News, he will be kicking off the campaign in Berlin on Tuesday evening.

It is still illegal to be gay in approximately 70 nations. Eight of those nations even have punishment by death for homosexuality — including Saudi Arabia.

In January, a man was publicly hanged in Iran for “having gay sex.”


“Although the decriminalization strategy is still being hashed out, officials say it’s likely to include working with global organizations like the United Nations, the European Union and the Organization for Security and Cooperation in Europe, as well as other countries whose laws already allow for gay rights. Other U.S. embassies and diplomatic posts throughout Europe, including the U.S. Mission to the E.U., are involved, as is the State Department’s Bureau of Democracy, Human Rights and Labor,” NBC News reports.

Grenell called last month’s hanging of the man in Iran “a wake-up call for anyone who supports basic human rights.”

“This is not the first time the Iranian regime has put a gay man to death with the usual outrageous claims of prostitution, kidnapping, or even pedophilia. And it sadly won’t be the last time,” Grenell wrote in the German paper Bild. “Barbaric public executions are all too common in a country where consensual homosexual relationships are criminalized and punishable by flogging and death.”

The effort is, in part, an effort to reframe the debate about Iran as a human rights issue.

“New U.S. pressure on those countries to change their laws comes as the Trump administration is working to use nascent ties between Arab nations and Israel to form a powerful axis against Iran, a strategy that dovetails with the administration’s planned rollout of an ambitious plan for Israeli-Palestinian peace,” NBC’s report concludes.


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