The Obama-appointed ambassador to Romania, Hans Klemm, has stoked a national debate on the role of U.S. diplomacy abroad by openly advocating same-sex marriage as the country deliberates over a proposed constitutional amendment affirming traditional marriage.
Last month, Klemm attended a widely publicized Gay Pride march in Bucharest on May 20 to show his support for the LGBT agenda in a country where same-sex marriage is still illegal. Klemm Joined the 500 marchers who met to demand “equal rights and visibility for the LGBT community” in the event organized by Respect, Romania’s premier LGBT national lobby group.
A proposed referendum would enshrine the traditional understanding of marriage as the union of one man and one woman in the national constitution.
Last fall, Klemm explained in an interview with a Romanian news agency why he publicly pushes for gay marriage.
While acknowledging that it is a “sensitive subject,” Klemm claimed that the U.S. Supreme Court had “resolved the legal problem over gay marriage, stating that it is unconstitutional and illegal to deny civil marriage to same-sex couples.”
“Therefore, the U.S. should support gay marriage everywhere in the world,” Klemm stated.
Klemm’s overt advocacy of gay marriage has met with backlash in the conservative country, and the ambassador has been criticized for abusing his position to meddle in the internal affairs of the nation. One of the most celebrated journalists in Romania, Ion Cristoiu, the founder of the country’s most important daily newspaper, has publicly accused Klemm of being “not the ambassador of the USA but of Hillary Clinton.”
The journalist said that Klemm has used his influential position to promote attitudes against President Donald Trump in Romania despite the fact that most Romanians in USA are Trump supporters.
“I’ve never met a more talkative ambassador of a foreign power,” Cristoiu wrote. “Since he arrived in Bucharest, Hans Klemm has not closed his mouth. He speaks about everything, at any time and in any place. He has also violated diplomatic norms and commonsense rules by speaking about strictly internal issues of Romania.”
In March 2015, President Barack Obama announced Klemm’s appointment as U.S. Ambassador to Romania and in September of that year, Klemm assumed the duties of his new post.
Even before the 2015 Supreme Court decision, however, President Obama wielded his international influence to promote LGBT rights and gay marriage worldwide, both through actions of the State Department and by his own direct diplomacy.
In December 2011, Obama issued a Presidential Memorandum instructing all federal agencies dealing with foreign affairs— from the State Department to the Department of Defense — to promote LGBT rights abroad.
“Under my Administration,” Obama said, “agencies engaged abroad have already begun taking action to promote the fundamental human rights of LGBT persons everywhere.”
“By this memorandum I am directing all agencies engaged abroad to ensure that U.S. diplomacy and foreign assistance promote and protect the human rights of LGBT persons,” he stated, before enumerating a series of specific actions to be taken.
In an article in December 2015, the New York Times lamented that President Obama’s full-court press for homosexual rights had sometimes backfired, resulting in increased hostility toward gays rather than greater acceptance.
When the president visited Africa earlier that year, he made the LGBT agenda one of the centerpieces of his message, comparing discrimination of gays in Africa to the treatment of blacks in America prior to the civil rights movement.
“As an African American in the United States I am painfully aware of what happens when people are treated differently under the law,” the president said.
The Times article claimed that the U.S. government had invested more than $700 million into supporting the gay agenda globally and that more than half of that money had targeted sub-Saharan Africa.
Immediately after Obama’s visit, a number of African leaders lashed out at the president for his western “cultural imperialism,” demanding that the president learn to respect Africa’s values rather than imposing his own.
“In the same way that we don’t try to impose our culture on anyone, we also expect that people should respect our culture in return,” said Theresa Okafor, a Nigerian activist.
Obama’s alliance with the LGBT cause earned him more than a little opprobrium back home as well, with American black leaders furious that the president should compare the gay agenda to the civil rights movement.
Black leaders were irate when Obama compared the civil rights movement to the same-sex marriage platform on the 50th anniversary of the “Bloody Sunday” march, when black American citizens were beaten for demanding voting rights they were being denied.
“I marched with many people back in those days and I have reached out to some of my friends who marched with me, and all of them are shocked,” Rev. William Owens of the Coalition of African American Pastors (CAAP) told Breitbart News.
“They never thought they would see this day that gay rights would be equated with civil rights. Not one agreed with this comparison,” he said.
“President Obama is a disgrace to the black community,” Owens said. “He is rewriting history. We didn’t suffer and die for gay marriage. We marched for opportunity, equality, justice, freedom from oppression. We are the true heirs of the civil rights movement. We have a new movement to reclaim the ‘real’ civil rights movement.”
Meanwhile, Obama-era diplomats around the world are still marching to the orders given by their former commander-in-chief.
It remains to be seen whether President Trump will encourage officials from the State Department to continue to actively agitate for the LGBT agenda abroad, or whether he will instead encourage restraint and greater respect for national sovereignty, faith, and traditions.
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