Main | Tuesday, March 15, 2011

House Committee Passes Bill Discouraging Financial Aid To Anti-Gay Nations

The U.S. House Financial Services Committee today approved Rep. Barney Frank's budget amendment that would discourage the granting of foreign aid to nations that engage in the "physical persecution" of their citizens on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identify. Michelle Garcia reports at the Advocate:
The text of the amendment reads: "The Committee urges Treasury to advocate that governments receiving assistance from the multilateral development institutions do not engage in gross violations of human rights, for example, the denial of freedom of religion, including the right to choose one’s own religion, and physical persecution based on sexual orientation or gender identity." Frank cited Uganda, a beneficiary of the Heavily Indebted Poor Countries program, as an example of a country that openly abuses its LGBT citizens. “The United States has a fairly influential voice in the development area," Frank said Tuesday. "And we should not be supportive of providing multilateral bank development funds going to the governments of countries which engage in the physical persecution of people because of their religious beliefs, sexual orientation, or gender identity.”
Frank's amendment will be added to the bill that describes the budgetary priorities of the Financial Services Committee. While it was passed out of committee with "nearly unanimous" support, it's unclear how the amendment will fare with the GOP House majority, many of whom already oppose foreign aid to some countries for differing reasons.

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