Will the real gay rights advocate please stand up?

"...Human rights are being extensively violated by certain powers..."
-Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad at the UN General Assembly September 25, 2007

Iranian President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has been in New York for the last few days causing a stir everywhere he goes. Ahmadinejad was invited yesterday to speak before students and faculty of Columbia University. Along with his anti-Semitic conspiracy theories and wavering views on Iran's nuclear power, apparently there are no gays in his country either.

"In Iran we don't have homosexuals like in your country," Ahmadinejad said. "In Iran we do not have this phenomenon, I don't know who has told you that we have it," he said.

When you think about it, this might actually be true to a certain degree, considering the 200 people executed in Iran so far this year, according to a Amnesty International report, and the hundreds more living in self-imposed exile in Europe and North America.

"It is extremely unfortunate that the President of Iran, who used a prestigious academic forum to speak the "truth" about his country, nevertheless spoke so disingenuously about the human rights situation in Iran," said Paula Ettelbrick, Executive Director at The International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC). "The Iranian President's stark denial of our reality reflects his government's ongoing refusal to recognize the basic human rights of LGBT people."

However, it's a certain Republican who is also making shock waves.

"I think it is an outrage for the university to lend its prestige to a dictator whose Government executes homosexuals, tortures and kills journalists, lock up students," said for US Speaker of the House Newt Gingrich.

Who is he kidding?

While no sensible social activist would support the human rights violations going on in Iran, it does seem a bit convenient for Gingrich and other Republicans to become pro-gay when they need to push US foreign policy down the world's throat.

Mr Gingrich, before you start to dictate the world about rights violations, please look at America's human rights record first. Everything from Abu Ghraib, the Iraq invasion, Hurricane Katrina and even Jena 6 points many fingers at how the current day America wrongly operates.

As far as gay rights are concerned, Mr Gingrich, when did you speak out against the murders of Matthew Shepard, a gay college student, or African American lesbian Sakia Gunn? Furthermore, it is people like yourself and the Republican Morality Police who force people like former US Senator Larry Craig to go into deep denial about their own sexuality.

Mr Gingrich, maybe you should join Mr Ahmadinejad in the corner with a dunce cap.



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