Updated: May 15
*Editor's Note: Lobbying (Definition): seek to influence (a politician or public official) on an issue.
Democrats are pushing the Biden administration to lift the State Department's blanket ban on U.S. politicians lobbying for gay marriage overseas. Currently, embassies cannot discuss gay marriage, as the State Department describes its policy as “neither for or against” advocating for marriage equality abroad.
After gay marriage was legalized in the United States, 28 other countries have followed suit. A recent 2021 Gallop poll shows record high support for gay marriage.
Despite burgeoning support for gay marriage, some countries continue to enforce draconian laws against homosexuals. There are currently 71 countries where homosexuality constitutes a criminal offense.
In 11 of these countries, most of which are located in the Middle East, homosexuality is punishable by death. Many of these laws originated in colonial times, when European powers carved up regions of the world and imposed laws on native inhabitants.
More than 60 House Democrats, led by the House of Foreign Affairs Committee, are pushing for change to have greater influence on LGBT rights globally.
In a letter to Secretary of State Antony Blinken, lawmakers wrote, “we do not ask the State Department to speak to marriage in every country or context. But we do ask the Department to provide the opportunity to U.S. personnel to defend our values and the dignity of our LGBTQI families at appropriate moments when the power of our example might make a meaningful difference."