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The United States already uses its foreign aid distribution to encourage countries to change their poor records on women's rights and ethnic violence, and on Tuesday, the White House said it would do the same for gay rights. It's a foreign policy move, but as the Associated Press pointed out, it's also a campaign move as the 2012 election draws closer: "Obama’s announcement is part of the White House’s outreach to gays and lesbians, a core Democratic constituency. Since taking office, Obama has advocated for the repeal of the military’s ban on openly gay service members and ordered the administration to stop enforcing a law defining marriage as between one man and one woman." The White House said its announcement "marked the first U.S. government strategy to combat human rights abuses against gays and lesbians abroad," the AP reported. U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Clinton is scheduled to make a speech on the new policy later Monday, but she's already been talking it up to other diplomats, making the case that gay rights "are equal to women's rights and racial equality and should be universal human rights."

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