A Democratic US Senator has introduced a bill that would deny visas to foreigners complicit in the persecution of LGBT people.
Jeanne Shaheen, the Senator for New Hampshire and a close ally of Hillary Clinton, introduced the Global Respect Act in the Senate this week.
The LGBT rights bill takes aim at people who have been complicit in homophobic killings, violence or persecution across the world, creating a list of extreme homophobes and placing them on a no-entry list.
It would specifically target “foreign persons responsible for, complicit in, or who incited extrajudicial killing, torture, or other gross violations of human rights based on actual or perceived sexual orientation or gender identity”.The law would not target home-grown homophobes such as extremist pastor Scott Lively – who has supported anti-gay laws around the world – but would place an emphasis on LGBT international human rights within the State Department.
The Human Rights Campaign explained: “This would send a signal to world leaders and officials that they cannot persecute LGBT people, seek to travel to the US and expect to be welcomed here.”
The bill was previously introduced in the House, where it 26 cosponsors.
Senators Ed Markey (D-MA), Chris Murphy (D-CT), Richard Blumenthal (D-CT), Ron Wyden (D-OR), and Jeff Merkley (D-OR) have supported the bill along with Senator Shaheen.
Senator Shaheen said: “While we’ve seen tremendous progress towards equality in the United States, the fact remains that the LGBT community is still under threat both here at home and around the world.
“No one should live in fear of physical violence or oppression because of their sexual orientation or sexual identity.
“The Global Respect Act would send a strong message to the international community and a stern warning to those who persecute LGBT individuals that the United States will continue to defend human rights.”
HRC President Chad Griffin said: “Millions of LGBT people around the world continue to suffer unimaginable violence and discrimination under oppressive laws and regimes.
“The Global Respect Act sends a clear message to political leaders of these countries that when they violate the human rights of LGBT people, the U.S. government will hold them accountable.
“This legislation also sends a message to LGBT people worldwide that the U.S. is an ally willing to defend their fundamental human rights. We are proud to endorse the work of Senator Shaheen and the other champions of this important bill.”