BERLIN — The American ambassador to Germany plans to guide what his embassy stated Wednesday was a brand new and “particular push” to decriminalize homosexuality worldwide.
The ambassador, Richard Grenell, rumored to be a candidate as the following American ambassador to the United Nations, invited a few dozen homosexual and transgender activists from round Europe to a dinner at his Berlin residence Tuesday night time the place the trouble was mentioned.
Friends from the Lithuanian Homosexual League posted a photograph on its Twitter account exhibiting two members posing with Mr. Grenell on the occasion, thanking him and calling on their nation and different European Union members to assist the trouble, which the Lithuanian company described as a “International US marketing campaign.”
The State Division in Washington has not introduced a brand new international marketing campaign for homosexual and transgender rights, elevating questions in regards to the official standing of the ambassador’s plan. A division spokesman described the trouble as a continuation of longstanding American coverage.
The enterprise by Mr. Grenell, probably the most outstanding overtly homosexual diplomat within the Trump administration, was first reported by NBC Information on Tuesday.
In latest public statements, Mr. Grenell has denounced Iran specifically, among the many 71 international locations the place homosexuality is outlawed, for its persecution of homosexual folks.
However in an interview with NBC, Mr. Grenell sought to painting the trouble as a lot broader. “This isn’t nearly Iran,” he stated within the interview. “That is about 71 international locations, and Iran is one in all them.”
Mr. Grenell additionally declined within the interview to reply whether or not he was within the United Nations ambassador submit, which has been vacant for practically two months. “I serve on the pleasure of the president,” he informed NBC.
The ambassador was touring on Wednesday and was unavailable for remark. However the American Embassy in Berlin confirmed in a press release that he had met with the European homosexual and transgender rights activists and that Mr. Grenell had seen the assembly as “the beginning of a selected push” to decriminalize homosexuality in all places.
“We’re working with European allies on a brand-new launch to decriminalize homosexuality,’’ Mr. Grenell informed NBC, regardless of different points that divide relations between Europe and the USA. He additionally stated he had spoken to senators supportive of utilizing American international assist as a part of the trouble, though he declined within the interview to specify which senators.
A lot of American allies are among the many nations that outlaw and severely penalize homosexuality, together with Saudi Arabia, and it remained unclear how the trouble led by Mr. Grenell would persuade the Saudis or others to finish deep-seated discrimination.
Mr. Grenell informed NBC that the activists, from Turkey, Ukraine, Bulgaria and different European international locations, had joined him and an Iranian expatriate round a big desk to debate the trouble. The ambassador stated it could require “71 completely different methods.”
Additionally unclear was whether or not the decriminalization effort was, in actual fact, new. A State Division spokesman in Washington, Robert Palladino, queried after the NBC report on the trouble was broadcast, stated: “This actually is just not a giant coverage departure. That is longstanding and it’s bipartisan.”
American-led diplomacy to advertise homosexual and transgender rights internationally expanded beneath President Barack Obama, properly earlier than the Trump administration took workplace. The United Nations Human Rights Council handed its first decision establishing L.G.B.T. rights as human rights in 2014.
David Pressman, a former American diplomat who’s a companion on the Boies Schiller Flexner legislation agency, who helped lead the Obama administration’s worldwide L.G.B.T. rights technique, stated that regardless of his contacts amongst teams who work on such points, he first heard about Mr. Grenell’s enterprise from information studies.
“What’s stunning is that nobody who works these points throughout the U.S. authorities seems to pay attention to this effort,’’ Mr. Pressman stated. “Nobody within the teams who’ve been engaged on these points seems to pay attention to this effort.”
Some main European rights teams, together with the Brussels-based ILGA-Europe, which represents L.G.B.T. folks throughout the Continent, stated they’d not been invited to the dinner.
“We don’t know the plans or the content material of the decriminalization marketing campaign,” stated Markus Ulrich, a spokesman for Germany’s largest homosexual and lesbian rights affiliation, LSVD.
The Trump administration, cautious of alienating evangelical conservative members of the president’s base, has a combined document on L.G.B.T. rights. Whereas Mr. Trump has stated he “is okay” with a Supreme Courtroom ruling that same-sex marriage is authorized, the administration has taken steps to roll again civil rights for homosexual and transgender folks. He additionally has reversed an Obama administration coverage permitting transgender folks to serve within the navy.
American critics of Mr. Trump expressed skepticism of Mr. Grenell’s effort. Jeremy Kadden, senior worldwide coverage advocate on the Human Rights Marketing campaign, an L.G.B.T. advocacy group in Washington, stated that the administration had “constantly labored to undermine the basic equality” of homosexual and transgender folks.
“If this dedication is actual, we have now a number of questions on their intentions and commitments, and are desirous to see what proof and motion will observe,” Mr. Kadden stated in an emailed assertion.