Livni, Clinton voice support for gay community in Israel and U.S.

Haaretz | February 6, 2009
By Natasha Mozgovaya

Opposition leader Tzipi Livni and United States Secretary of State Hillary Clinton, each in their respective country, voiced their support for the gay community Monday ahead of Gay and Lesbian Pride Month to be marked throughout June.

"The right to love is granted to anyone," Livni said in an event held at the gay community's municipal center in Tel Aviv's Meir Park.

"I can only imagine what a young person goes through after deciding to come out and acknowledge themselves completely in a world that doesn't always understand."

Livni also estimated "that by reaching out the gay community can help people cope with a social phenomenon which says more about us as a society than it does of you, if indeed we are still unable to accept you as you are."

"I came since I was told that my being here and expressing my appreciation means a lot for you," Livni said.

"I do not know "all of your concerns, but I promise to look into every case. There will be issues that we will disagree on, but you will have a sympathetic ear, and a mouth for speaking."

Sacrificed for the nation

May was a difficult month for the gay community in the U.S. The California Supreme court's decision to uphold "Proposition 8," canceling same-sex marriages in the state, dampened the mood ahead of Gay Pride Month, as did the Obama administration's inaction in dealing with the issue of gays and lesbians serving in the U.S. military.

Secretary Clinton, at least, was more understanding and receptive, congratulating the State Department's gay and lesbian staffers.

Clinton began by thanking the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender workers of the State Department as well as of the entire administration, in Washington and around the globe.

Clinton then went on to say that those workers and their families have made personal sacrifices in order to serve the U.S., and that their contribution was vital for worldwide stability and prosperity.

The Secretary of State added that the persecution of gays and lesbians must stop as it represented a violation of human rights and an insult to human decency.