GENEVA (AP) -- U.S. officials aren't saying just what penalties the Obama administration might apply to countries that are judged to be poor protectors of gay rights.
President Barack Obama today told the State Department and other agencies to make sure that U.S. diplomacy and foreign assistance promote those rights.
Speaking today in Geneva, Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton said, "Gay rights are human rights, and human rights are gay rights." Her audience included diplomats from Arab, African and other nations where homosexuality is criminalized, or where brutality against gays is tolerated or encouraged.
She said, "It should never be a crime to be gay."
She didn't name any countries with poor records on gay rights, although the U.S. has already pointed to abuses against gays by such allies as Saudi Arabia.
Clinton spoke of the targeted killings of gays, and the so-called "corrective rape" of lesbians. She said targeting gays for mistreatment is like the "honor killings" of women, or female genital mutilation -- examples of practices that the U.S. has denounced.
She also compared changing cultural attitudes toward homosexuality to the changing view of slavery, saying it was once seen as "sanctioned by God," but is now recognized as an "unconscionable violation of human rights."
(Copyright 2011, The Associated Press)