Ambassador Michael C. Polt
Baltic Pride Remarks by Ambassador Michael C. Polt
June 2, 2012
Good afternoon Riga! I would like to thank Ambassador Garber for inviting me to join her as we celebrate with you today. And best wishes from U.S. Embassy Tallinn.
I would also like to applaud the individuals and organizations that have organized Baltic Pride 2012.
I had the pleasure of participating in last year’s Baltic Pride celebration in Tallinn.
I see many familiar faces here from Estonia, and friends from Latvia and Lithuania who came to Tallinn last June.
As President Obama has said, LGBT people “are endowed with the same inalienable rights -- and entitled to the same protections -- as all human beings.
.... LGBT persons are entitled to equal treatment, equal protection, and the dignity that comes with being full members of our diverse societies.”
The United States stands proudly with those nations that are standing up to intolerance, discrimination, and homophobia. Advancing equality for all should be the work of all peoples and all nations.
Secretary of State Clinton has stressed that LGBT rights must be incorporated into U.S. foreign policy and the work of our diplomats around the world.
At remarks at the State Department last year, the Secretary said, we “refute the hateful suggestion that LGBT people are somehow exempt from human rights protections,
and we made it absolutely clear that, so far as the United States is concerned and our foreign policy .... All people’s rights and dignity must be protected whatever their sexual orientation or gender identity.”
The Secretary then reiterated her famous statement “gay rights are human rights, and human rights are gay rights.”
LGBT rights continue to be an issue that many societies are seized with, including in the United States.
I can say that I have seen many changes and most in a positive direction.
Following legislation passed by the U.S. Congress, the U.S. military last year ended the Don’t Ask Don’t Tell policy that required LGBT military personnel to remain closeted or face dismissal.
As the famous American songwriter Bob Dylan once sang, “times they are a changin’.”
Thank you and my very best wishes to you all!