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Baldwin amendments saves LGBT programs at State Department

Dallas Voice: Baldwin amendments saves LGBT programs at State Department

By Tammye Nash

Openly-lesbian U.S. Sen. Tammy Baldwin announced today (Tuesday, Sept. 26) that she was able, as a member of the Senate Appropriations Committee, to prevent “two critical offices for ensuring LGBTI rights are a U.S. foreign policy priority” from being cut out of the fiscal year 2018 State Department appropriations legislation.

“America must lead by example, and eliminating offices that help facilitate LGBTI human rights is not the right example to set,” Baldwin said in a statement released today. “I’m proud to have led the fight to reverse the Trump administration’s cuts to these two critical programs. Together, we can continue the march for fairness, freedom and full equality for all.”

According to the press release from Baldwin’s office, Trump last March ordered a reorganization of the State Department and the U.S. Agency of International Development that included the elimination or downgrade of “certain critical” Special Envoy offices and human rights programs.

But Baldwin’s amendment to the State Department funding bill kept in place the Office of the Special Envoy for the Human Rights of LGBTI rights, which “facilitates high-level, bilateral engagement on LGBTI rights.”

Her amendment also protected the LGBTI Portfolio within USAID, which “coordinates and leads USAID’s efforts to support inclusive, culturally-specific development efforts that respect and further the human rights of LGBTI people.”

Both programs were restored to current funding levels.