White House official; Mick Mulvaney, a former Republican lawmaker who is Director of the Office of Management and Budget in the Trump administration, talked about Africa’s anti-gay laws and how the administration has no interest in the matter at the State Department’s ‘Ministerial to Advance Religious Freedom Conference‘ in Washington, DC. In his speech, Mick Mulvaney lashed out at the “previous administration” – referring to President Obama’s term in office – for promoting gay rights in Africa. President Obama famously pressed the Kenyan President over the country’s anti-gay law, which attracts a maximum penalty of 14 years’ imprisonment to acts of gay sex and he also pressed to make overseas aid payments contingent upon respect for LGBT people’s basic human rights.
Mr Mick Mulvaney, claims that such advocacy amounts to a form of “religious persecution.” In a report by The Daily Nation, he goes on to say;
“Our US taxpayer dollars are used to discourage Christian values in other democratic countries,” Mr Mulvaney said in reference to the Obama administration’s use of financial leverage to discourage discrimination against gay people in Africa.
“It was stunning to me that my government under the previous administration would go to folks in sub-Saharan Africa and say, ‘We know that you have a law against abortion, but if you enforce that law, you’re not going to get any of our money. We know you have a law against gay marriage, but if you enforce that law, we’re not going to give you any money.’
“That’s a different type of religious persecution. (…) That is a different type of religious persecution that I never expected to see. I never expected to see that as an American Christian, that we would be doing that to other folks.”
He added: “I am here to let you know there are many people in our government who care about [these issues]. There are a lot of people in this government who want to see things done differently. They want to do something.”
Soon after taking office in 2009, President Barack Obama lifted his Republican predecessor’s ban on US funding for NGOs in Africa and other parts of the world that offer counselling on abortion. President Trump, in turn, has reinstated that ban, which its opponents term “the global gag rule.” US support for gay rights in other countries was made explicit in a 2011 Obama memorandum directing American diplomats and aid officials to “promote and protect the human rights of LGBT persons.”
And in 2016, the Obama administration announced it would bar the US Agency for International Development from awarding contracts to organisations that condition their services on the basis of potential clients’ sexual orientation.
Mick Mulvaney has a strongly anti-LGBT record, like many senior members of the Trump administration. The Republican was a co-sponsor of the First Amendment Defense Act, a law that would permit anti-LGBT discrimination on the basis of religion. The Congressman scored zero on the Human Rights Campaign’s Congressional Scorecard for both of his terms in the House, opposing LGBT rights.
President Trumps hatred for LGBTQ persons becomes more evident now as his former press secretary Sean Spicer recently revealed that he cynically shifted stance on LGBT rights in order to shore up support during the 2016 election. Spicer revealed that Trump only claimed to support ‘LGBTQ’ rights as part of a backroom deal to avert a challenge to his nomination as the party’s candidate.
With Mick Mulvaney’s comments it is evident that the Trump Administration sees justice or religious justification in the persecution of LGBT persons in Africa and obviously houses intent to demolish President Obama’s work in fighting against LGBTQ violence and discrimination outside the US shores.