The U.S. already has the Global Magnitsky Act which allows the sanctioning of foreigners working against America's best interests, including human rights. But now LGBT groups are urging lawmakers to pass the Global Respect Act (H.R. 3485), which was recently introduced in the U.S. House. It would allow America's government to issue sanctions against foreign individuals and countries if they speak out against the homosexual/transgender movement.
According to Arielle Del Turco, assistant director of the Family Research Council's (FRC) Center for Religious Liberty, such individuals could be punished even if they are speaking on the basis of their religious beliefs.
"The U.S. government has a long tradition dating back to 1998 with the International Religious Freedom Act where we created mechanisms to promote religious freedom abroad," Del Turco notes. "So it's actually mandated by U.S. law that we promote religious freedom in our foreign policy."
Yet the bill would allow the U.S. to trample religious freedom overseas to accommodate the LGBT agenda in the states, which she says is a huge problem.
"If a foreign person expresses their religious beliefs about marriage and sexuality, is the U.S. government going to protect their religious freedom, or are we going to try to sanction it," the FRC spokeswoman poses. "That's how bills like the Global Respect Act really cause a lot of confusion in our foreign policy and is really a bad idea."
She says the measure is not about promoting human rights at all; it is about promoting an ideological agenda. If it were about the former, then FRC's Mary Beth Waddell says lawmakers would recognize that the Global Respect Act is not even needed.
"It's very duplicative in using our sanctions regime for abusing human rights around the world and now specifically calling out 'LGBT rights' -- quote unquote. And everything that the bill would allow is already covered by the Global Magnitsky Act," Waddell contends.
She echoes Del Turco regarding the bill's lack of nuance when it comes to religious liberty.
"There's no indication of religious liberty factoring in and making sure that you're protecting those with sincerely held beliefs about marriage and human sexuality and that this isn't going to target free speech issues and religious liberty issues," Waddell says.
The U.S. House is expected to vote on the bill this week. Waddell believes it will pass there, but whether the Senate does so is a mystery.