Gays’ Rights Not Country’s Domestic Agenda, Says Defense Minister

Liberia’s Defense Minister, Brownie J. Samukai has said prioritizing the rights of gays is not what he referred to as the domestic agenda of Liberia. The Liberian Defense Minister’s comments come in the wake of recent statements emanating from certain western countries and their leaders that countries in Africa must ensure that gays and lesbians are not discriminated against. The US has publicly declared it will fight discrimination against gays and lesbians abroad by using foreign aid and diplomacy to encourage reform. A memo from the Obama administration directs US government agencies to consider gay rights when making aid and asylum decisions. Similar policies already exist for gender equality and ethnic violence.

The announcement, described by the White House as the “first US government strategy to combat human rights abuses against gays and lesbians abroad”, is also being seen as part of the Obama administration’s outreach to gays and lesbians ahead of the 2012 election. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton recently told an audience of diplomats in Geneva: “Gay rights are human rights”.”It should never be a crime to be gay,” Mrs. Clinton said at the United Nations in Geneva, adding that a country’s cultural or religious traditions were no excuse for discrimination. “Gay people are born into and belong to every society in the world,” Mrs. Clinton said in Geneva. “Being gay is not a Western invention.

It is a human reality,” she noted. In October, UK Prime Minister David Cameron’s suggestion that aid could be cut to countries that did not recognize gay rights was condemned by several African countries where homosexual acts are banned, including Ghana, Uganda and Zimbabwe. Last week, Nigeria became the latest African country attempting to tighten homosexuality laws, with the Senate passing a bill banning same-sex marriages. Before it becomes law in that West African State, it must be passed by the lower chamber and then signed by the president.

But appearing on the Truth FM Breakfast Show Thursday in Monrovia, Minister Samukai asserted that every country has its national agenda, adding that the issue of the West protecting the rights of gays is their agenda and not Liberia’s national agenda.

He stated that there were other things that are much more significant to the development agenda of the country rather than the issue of gays’ rights.

He made it clear that countries pushing for the rights of gays should continue to do so if this is in line with their agenda.

But he pointed out that Liberia should be left alone to carry out those things that fall within the scope of its national agenda.

Source – All Africa