"Hello? You know our anti-homosexual policies? I’ve got some bad news…"

Hillary Clinton’s speech about gay rights today contained a great line.She told an audience of diplomats that ‘gay rights are human rights’, and hinted that US policy towards certain countries could be influenced by their record on homosexuality.

The Beeb reports that her audience included representatives from countries where homosexuality is a criminal offence, and reads:

‘Many ambassadors rushed out of the room as soon as Mrs Clinton finished speaking, the Associated Press news agency reported.’

I’d love to have been in the lobby when those ambassadors reached for their phones.

“Hello? Get me the boss, quick. What? No, now!" (Pause) "Hello? Yes it’s me." (Pause) "Yes, Geneva’s lovely. Very cold though. Listen…" (Pause) "Yes, I’ve bought you some Toblerone. Look, I’ve got some good news and some bad news…

“The good news? We could be lined up for some cash from the US." (Pause) "I know. But here’s the bad news. “ (Looks around furtively) “We’ve got to scrap the stuff we do with fa… I mean quee… I mean, homosexuals." (Pause. Holds phone away from ear for a moment.)

“Calm down, sir. It can’t be that bad, can it?" (Pause) "Okay, we need to move on this quickly. I’ll talk to the senate about the ban on same-sex marriages, we’ll talk to the police about their, um, tactics with homosexuals. Oh, and you better contact the prison service to cancel the lashings.”

Or maybe not. But an interesting development from the US, and comes a couple of months after David Cameron made a similar statement.

Meanwhile, it’s a month to go until the one year anniversary of the death of David Kato, after he took a magazine to court for printing the home addresses of alleged homosexuals in Uganda, and encouraging people to hang them.

And right now student Jean-Claude Roger Mbede is languishing in a Cameroon prison after being found guilty of homosexuality. His story – part of Amnesty’s Write for Rights campaign which takes place this weekend – is, tragically, not unique.

Let’s hope those ambassadors make their calls, and let’s hope it makes a difference.

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Our blogs are written by Amnesty International staff, volunteers and other interested individuals, to encourage debate around human rights issues. They do not necessarily represent the views of Amnesty International.
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