from The Water's Edge

2012 Campaign Roundup: Foreign Aid and Gay Rights

December 7, 2011

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Blog posts represent the views of CFR fellows and staff and not those of CFR, which takes no institutional positions.

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Secretary of State Clinton is greeted by members of audience after defending rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people around world on Human Rights Day at United Nations in Geneva. (J. Scott Applewhite/courtesy Reuters)

The Obama administration announced yesterday that it would use U.S. aid to promote gay rights abroad. President Obama issued a memorandum laying out the new policy, and Secretary of State Hillary Clinton told the United Nations Human Rights Council in Geneva that “gay rights and human rights are… one and the same."

Rick Perry was the first GOP presidential candidate to criticize the new policy:

Promoting special rights for gays in foreign countries is not in America’s interests and not worth a dime of taxpayers’ money.

But there is a troubling trend here beyond the national security nonsense inherent in this silly idea. This is just the most recent example of an administration at war with people of faith in this country. Investing tax dollars promoting a lifestyle many Americas of faith find so deeply objectionable is wrong.

Rick Santorum quickly followed Perry’s line, complaining that “the administration is promoting their particular agenda in this country, and now they feel it’s their obligation to promote those values not just in the military, not just in our society, but now around the world with taxpayer dollars." Expect to hear more criticisms in this vein during the upcoming GOP presidential debates. Rick Perry has already released an attack ad in Iowa based on the White House decision.

Yesterday, Jon Huntsman looked to have altered his tone on climate change. He told a gathering at the Heritage Foundation that the “onus is on the scientific community to provide more in the way of information, to help clarify the situation” on climate change. You might remember that back in August Huntsman took a poke at his GOP rivals when he tweeted: “To be clear. I believe in evolution and trust scientists on global warming. Call me crazy.” After an avalanche of news stories and blog posts suggesting that he had flip-flopped, Huntsman told reporters after his speech today to the Republican Jewish Coalition that his views haven’t changed—he believes that science shows that human activity is changing the climate and that action needs to be taken.

The New York Times’s Richard Oppel reports that the GOP presidential candidates are taking aim at Obama’s foreign policy. (Surprise!) Salon’s Jordan Smith thinks Newt Gingrich would be “the scariest commander in chief” because of the “violent grandiosity, faux intellectualism, and missionary zeal” of his foreign policy views. Joshua Keating looks back at Gingrich’s 2003 effort to reform the State Department.

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