Newly-released emails from Hillary Clinton have revealed she pushed the Obama administration to take a harder stance on anti-gay laws in Africa – and reveal her excitement to be honoured at World Pride.
Hillary Clinton served as US Secretary of State from 2008 until 2012. The State Department is continuing to release batches of non-classified emails from her time as Secretary, after controversy surrounding her use of a private email server.
An email released this week from the Clinton server showed that one year into her job, Clinton was pushing for a more proactive stance on global LGBT rights after a confrontation between her and the Ugandan President.
A meeting summary emailed to Clinton in December 2009 confirms: “Cheryl [Mills, Clinton Chief of Staff] noted that she had raised with Johnnie Carson [African Affairs Secretary] the need to look at what anti-gay laws other African countries, besides Uganda, had adopted or were considering.
“In the subsequent Deputies Meeting, Johnnie noted the proposed draconian legislation in Uganda as well as the Secretary’s intervention with Museveni.
“He indicated he would send a message to all our African posts asking them to report on similar legislation or efforts in their countries and to provide their thoughts on a strategy, including public diplomacy efforts, to counter this trend.”
Other emails reveal the excitement of Clinton and her staff to be honoured at London’s 2012 World Pride festival.
It came after Secretary Clinton’s landmark speech to the UN in Geneva in July 2012, when she urged world leaders to be “on the right side of history” on LGBT rights.
Diplomat Ken Kero-Mentz had emailed Secretary Clinton’s office to ask what she would like done with the tribute artwork, which was in the US Embassy, featuring “the words of her speech sewn in to the flag”.
An email chain shows a picture of the artwork was then shared with Clinton and the staffers who contributed to the speech.
Clinton speechwriter Megan Rooney replied: “This is kind of neat”, while foreign policy adviser Jacob Sullivan responded: “Very cool.”
Hillary Clinton herself responded to the chain among her staff, suggesting they all go and see the artwork on her next trip to London.
She wrote: “If I go back to London I could do photo. Then we have to decide what to do w it.”
Huma Abedin, the chair of Clinton’s Presidential campaign, responded: “pretty amazing. we should frame it and hang it somewhere!”
Clinton has attracted scrutiny over her gay rights record during her current Presidential campaign, after attacks from rival Bernie Sanders.
Though Clinton has won support from most major LGBT organisations for her LGBT policy manifesto, Mr Sanders has decried the groups as part of the “establishment”.
He also claimed that Clinton “insulted the entire gay community” on the issue, as her husband signed the anti-LGBT Defence of Marriage Act into law as a compromise with Republicans.
Mrs Clinton did not endorse same-sex marriage until 2013 – after she concluded her term as Secretary of State. Senator Sanders backed it in 2009.