The World Reacts to Clinton's Gay Rights Speech

Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's bold U.N. speech condemning the discrimination of gay, lesbian and transgendered people across the world had a significant impact in the U.S. But how's it playing around the world? 

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Secretary of State Hillary Clinton's bold U.N. speech condemning the discrimination of gay, lesbian and transgendered people across the world had a significant impact in the U.S. But how's it playing around the world? With the help of Google Translate, we scanned the foreign coverage of Clinton's speech across the globe. Here's what we found:

Europe Much of the European press ran fairly straightforward stories on the speech though there were some subtle differences from country to country. In France, Le Nouvel Observateur noted that President Obama still doesn't fully support gay marriage saying only that his position on the issue was "evolving." Portugal's Publico notes that the administration has supported gay rights issues in the past, including on the international stage. "Obama was one of the world leaders who spoke out against the law in preparation in Uganda that would make some homosexual acts a crime punishable by death."

The gay blogosphere was less restrained in its appreciation for the speech. The German gay culture site Queer.De called the speech, combined with President Obama's policy to consider gay rights abuses alongside foreign aid decisions, a "historic global initiative." Queer Blog, a gay culture website in Italy, celebrated the speech running with the headline "Hillary Clinton on the side of gays" while commemorating the date. "Tuesday, December 6, 2011 may be remembered as a historic day for the promotion of gay rights as human rights around the world." Calling the speech "combative" and "inspired," the site asks "When have we ever heard words so inspired, so sharply pronounced by a person who represents one of the major world powers -- if not the greatest -- of all deployed from the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people?" It then embedded a video of Clinton's speech.

South and Central America Venezuela's El Universal really plays up the move, depicting it as some sort of linchpin of American foreign diplomacy, as its headline and story suggest (A Google translator version appears to the right). "The rights of gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender people are at the heart of [America's] foreign policy." The article also implies that President Obama's decision was heavily-influenced by electoral politics. "Obama has taken several policy measures to please the gay rights activists, a key group among voters in the Democratic Party, including the final repeal gay taboo in the Army, putting end a law that barred gays declare their sexual preference."

Brazil's Terra Brasil news service noticed the sheer length of Clinton's address. "The U.S. Secretary of State has devoted her speech to more than half an hour to denounce the discrimination that gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender experience in many countries where heterosexual is not a crime." A Mexican news portal noted that Clinton's speech used "unusually strong language." Argentina's Uno pointed out that its country, along with Columbia, earned specific praise from Clinton. "In Colombia and Argentina, gay rights are legally protected, said Clinton."

Asia A report in China's News Now notes that some of America's key allies don't necessarily have the most sparkling record on gay rights. In particular Turkey and Saudi Arabia. The article notes that "Saudi law prohibits sex between same sex, offenders will be punished by death or flogging." Playing up the geopolitical angle as well, the Jang Daily News notes that the "new policy could pose awkward questions for US officials formulating policy towards some regular allies and regional powers," pointing out Saudi Arabia in particular.

Africa South Africa's largest news portal, iAfrica, noted that Clinton's speech came at a time when African countries are growing increasingly tired of Western nation's preoccupation with this issue. "Washington for example, has expressed concern over legislation in Nigeria that seeks to outlaw gay marriage and public displays of affection between homosexual couples," writes the news service. "Britain has meanwhile warned that it will consider withholding aid from nations which do not recognise gay rights."  Concerned with how the new policy could affect aid recipients, Nigeria's The Nation notes, "The official memorandum does not outline consequences for countries with poor records on gay rights. But it allows U.S agencies working abroad to consult with international organisations on discrimination."

Middle East Stories on Clinton's speech in the Middle East were difficult to come by. We did find coverage of the speech in BBC Turkey but that doesn't really count. Did we miss any?

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.