India can learn from Clinton’s speech on rights for gays and lesbians

By Sandip Roy

Sometimes you just have to give credit where credit is due.

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton could have given some boiler plate remarks about the importance of human rights on International Human Rights Day in Geneva. She could have taken the opportunity to take some swipes at Iran or the Taliban.

But instead she gave a speech that made everyone sit up and notice.

Today, I want to talk about the work we have left to do to protect one group of people whose human rights are still denied in too many parts of the world today.  In many ways, they are an invisible minority.

She was talking about gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people.

It was landmark because it made the very simple point that gay rights are part of human rights — an argument that sounds obvious but which has been repeatedly denied by countries around the world.

But the most interesting (and un-American ) part of the speech was that she didn’t use her speech to set up the United States as any kind of  beacon for human rights or get on a moral high horse. She acknowledged that the American record was “far from perfect.” She didn’t use her bully pulpit to just trumpet the Obama administration’s own record — for example, the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.

Gay activists here might bask in the sunshine of that unexpected plaudit. But they should also take a moment to learn something from her speech.AP

She actually looked abroad for inspiration. To South Africa. Colombia. Mongolia. And India

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