US could cut away from countries where gay sex is illegal

Richard Grenell speaks at a press conference in January (Milos Miskov/Anadolu Agency/Getty)

Donald Trump’s first openly gay cabinet member Richard Grenell wants the United States to stop sharing intelligence with countries where it’s illegal to be gay.

Grenell told The New York Times that it will take more than just telling the leaders of these countries that their laws are morally wrong.

“We can’t just simply make the moral argument and expect others to respond in kind because telling others that it’s the right thing to do doesn’t always work,” he said.

He continued: “To fight for decriminalisation is to fight for basic human rights.”

Gay cabinet member Richard Grenell said he has the support of Donald Trump for the measure.

Grenell is currently serving as acting director of national intelligence, so he may have the power to make such a move. He also insisted that Trump is behind the proposed measure.

“We have the president’s total support. This is an American value, and this is United States policy.”

His office is now reportedly forming a group that will review whether they will stop sharing intelligence with countries where homosexuality is illegal.

To fight for decriminalisation is to fight for basic human rights.

“If a country that we worked in as the United States intelligence community was arresting women because of their gender, we would absolutely do something about it,” he added.

“Ultimately, the United States is safer when our partners respect basic human rights.”

Gay sex is still illegal in a significant number of countries in the Middle East, South East Asia and Africa, including Saudi Arabia, Singapore, Algeria, Kenya, Uganda, Turkmenistan and Egypt. Homosexuality is thought to be a criminal offence in at least 69 countries across the world.

However, Grenell is currently only acting director of national intelligence, and he is likely to be replaced in September when the Senate confirms the new director – which could put a halt to his plans.

Grenell was appointed as acting director of national intelligence in February. Trump announced the appointment on Twitter.

Some critics have suggested that Grenell is not qualified to serve as director of intelligence.

“I am pleased to announce that our highly respected ambassador to Germany, Richard Grenell, will become the acting director for National Intelligence,” Trump wrote.

“Rick has represented our country exceedingly well, and I look forward to working with him.”

Grenell’s appointment was not welcomed in all quarters. John Sipher, a former CIA officer, told The New York Times in February that he “doesn’t have the kind of background and experience we would require for such a critical position”.

Grenell came under fire again when it was revealed that he had financial links to Hungary’s far-right, anti-LGBT+ government.

Needless to say, he also faced some backlash when his appointment was announced from conservative and religious figures, who were unhappy that a gay man had taken such a senior role.


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