Democrats Want U.S. Diplomats to Lobby For Marriage Equality Internationally

by Emell Adolphus

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Saturday October 23, 2021
Originally published on October 22, 2021

More than 60 House Democrats are in support of taking the marriage equality conversation international. As reported by NBC News, the group is urging Secretary of State Antony Blinken to lift the State Department's blanket ban on U.S. diplomats lobbying for marriage equality in an official capacity.

"The lawmakers' request comes after testimony in June from Scott Busby, the acting principal deputy assistant secretary in the State Department's Bureau on Democracy, Human Rights and Labor, revealed that the department's official policy is to not 'advocate for or against same-sex marriage overseas,' NBC reports.

The House Democrats called the policy "outdated" in a letter addressed to Blinken, and said it should be "rescinded as a matter of urgency."

Rescinding such a policy will give U.S. personnel an opportunity to defend America's values, according to the group of representatives.

"We do not ask the State Department to speak to marriage in every country or context," the representatives wrote. "But we do ask the Department to provide the opportunity to U.S. personnel to defend our values and the dignity of our LGBTQI families at appropriate moments when the power of our example might make a meaningful difference."

Members of the House Foreign Affairs Committee, including Rep. Joaquin Castro of Texas, Rep. Dina Titus of Nevada, and Rep. David Cicilline of Rhode Island, are leading the efforts to change the policy.

Despite marriage equality being the law of the land in the U.S., marriage between same-sex couples is still criminalized in around 71 nations and punishable by death in 11 countries.

Chair of the Council for Global Equality Mark Bromley agreed that it is time for a change of policy on the matter, saying that U.S. diplomats should be advising international lawmakers on legalizing same-sex marriage in countries where it is a "real possibility."

"It might have made sense 20 years ago, but now we're at a point where there are countries where having the U.S. speak up and explain our own path to marriage equality could make a difference," Bromley said. "What the embassies have to do first and foremost is listen to the LGBTQI community and ask them, 'What can we do that would be helpful or not helpful?' "