Obama takes issue of gay rights to world, despite unsure welcome


WARSAW, Poland — President Barack Obama has taken the U.S. gay rights revolution global, using American embassies to promote a cause that still divides his own country.

Sometimes U.S. advice and encouragement is condemned as meddling. And it can backfire, increasing pressure on gays.

With gay pride parades in many cities this weekend, the U.S. role will be more visible than ever. Diplomats will take part in parades and some embassies will fly the rainbow flag with the U.S. flag.

The United States sent five openly gay ambassadors abroad last year, with a sixth nominee, to Vietnam, awaiting confirmation. American diplomats are working to support gay rights in Poland, where prejudice is deep, and to oppose violence in countries like Nigeria and Russia, where gays face life-threatening risks.

Former President George W. Bush supported AIDS prevention efforts globally, but it was Obama who pushed to make lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender rights an international issue.


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