by Karen Faulkner, Worthy News Correspondent
(Worthy News) – Congress is preparing to vote on the Global Respect Act (GRA), a measure which supporters say holds to account foreign violators of LGBT human rights by denying them entry to America, but which critics say advances a far-left agenda against countries and faith groups that uphold traditional beliefs on gender and sexuality.
In a website statement about the Act, the Human Rights First (HRF) organization said the measure is needed because: “Every year, thousands of individuals are targeted for harassment, attack, arrest, and murder on the basis of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Many who commit crimes against LGBT individuals do so with complete impunity.”
HRF names Russia, Nigeria, India, Brunei, and Uganda as countries that have passed laws criminalizing homosexuality and, in the case of Nigeria, made it a criminal offense to even associate with a homosexual.
“The effects of these legislative and penal measures extend beyond parliaments and prisons—they have a chilling effect measured in assaults, blackmail, harassment, and murder,” HRF said.
However, right-wing critics say the Act is unnecessary.
“The Global Magnitsky Human Rights Accountability Act and other human rights statutes already provide for imposing visa restrictions and other sanctions on international human rights violators, regardless of the abusers’ rationale for committing abuses,” journalist Grace Melton wrote for CNS News.
“The Global Respect Act creates an opportunity for leftist activists to use the U.S. government to target political and ideological opponents,” Melton said.
“For many progressives, the belief that marriage is solely the union of one man and one woman is considered discriminatory or homophobic, and the conviction that there are only two biological sexes is narrow-minded or transphobic. The bill’s broad language and lack of protections to safeguard religious liberty and freedom of speech invite ample opportunities for abuse,” she explained.
A summary of the GRA on the official Congress website states: “This bill imposes visa-blocking sanctions on foreign persons responsible for or complicit in violating the human rights of individuals due to actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity, or sex characteristics. The President shall report and periodically update a list of foreign persons responsible for such human rights violations and apply sanctions accordingly. The Department of State shall designate at least one senior officer who shall be responsible for tracking violence and discrimination against individuals based on actual or perceived sexual orientation, gender identity, or sex characteristics in foreign countries.”
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