More than 100 U.S. senators and representatives, led by Sen. Tammy Baldwin of Wisconsin and Rep. David Cicilline of Rhode Island, have urged that President Joe Biden request sufficient funding in the next fiscal year’s budget to promote LGBTQ+ rights globally.
Biden’s Memorandum on Advancing the Human Rights of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, Queer, and Intersex Persons Around the World stated that it is “the policy of the United States to pursue an end to violence and discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or sex characteristics, and to lead by the power of our example in the cause of advancing the human rights of LGBTQI+ persons around the world.”
Yet budget requests for programs that carry out this policy at the State Department and the United States Agency for International Development have largely remained flat, notes the letter, released Friday and signed by 117 members of Congress, all Democrats or independents. It is addressed to Shalanda Young, director of the Office of Management and Budget.
“Of even greater concern is that budget requests have, at times, requested less funding than that previously enacted by Congress,” the letter continues. “Insufficient funding risks undercutting the Administration’s stated priorities and the needs of global LGBTQI+ movements facing democratic backsliding, a proliferation of anti-LGBTQI+ laws and policies, and continued stigma and discrimination.”
The State Department and USAID have been able to finance only a small percentage of the requests they receive for programs to advance LGBTQ+ equality around the world, the missive points out.
“It is our sincere hope that the President’s Fiscal Year 2024 Budget Request will adequately and accurately reflect the Biden Administration’s priority to advance LGBTQI+ rights around the world,” the senators and representatives add. “To this end, we urge you to include $40 million for the State Department’s Global Equality Fund and $30 million for USAID’s Inclusive Development Hub’s Protection of LGBTQI+ Persons in the FY24 budget.”
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