The Trump administration, led by U.S. Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell, is reportedly launching an effort to decriminalize homosexuality in dozens of countries across the world.
The administration is launching the campaign Tuesday evening in Berlin and will fly in a number of European LGBT activists to discuss how to end laws in countries that make it illegal to be gay, according to officials who spoke with NBC News. The campaign will focus its efforts on countries in the Middle East, Africa, and the Caribbean.
“It is concerning that, in the 21st century, some 70 countries continue to have laws that criminalize LGBTI status or conduct,” a U.S. official said.
The campaign was at least partially launched because Iran recently hanged a man due to his homosexuality — an incident that Grenell, who is openly gay, slammed publicly in commentary for the German news outlet BILD.
“Politicians, the U.N., democratic governments, diplomats, and good people everywhere should speak up – and loudly,” Grenell wrote. “Barbaric public executions are all too common in a country where consensual homosexual relationships are criminalized and punishable by flogging and death.”
— Richard Grenell (@RichardGrenell) February 1, 2019
Iran is a gathering storm of chaos over Europe. Terrorism, threats of death, ballistic missile programs, the hanging of gays. These are NOT European values. https://t.co/hpklA4wAmF
— Richard Grenell (@RichardGrenell) January 31, 2019
In November, Grenell called out the United Nations General Assembly for overwhelmingly voting to accuse Israel of human rights violations, suggesting the assembly should instead vote on whether or not being gay is a crime.
“It will out the human rights hypocrites,” he tweeted.
Someone should call for a UN General Assembly vote on whether or not being gay is a crime. It will out the human rights hypocrites. https://t.co/nobIujxz6H
— Richard Grenell (@RichardGrenell) November 17, 2018
According to officials, the administration will likely be working with the United Nations, along with other international organizations, in its efforts to abolish the criminalization of homosexuality.
The Daily Caller reported Monday that Grenell is also one of three people being considered for UN ambassador after former State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert dropped out of the running. (RELATED: Here’s Who Is In The Running To Be The Next UN Ambassador)
Grenell did not return a request for comment for this article.
Vermont Sen. Bernie Sanders launched his 2020 presidential bid on Tuesday by accusing the president of being “a homophobe,” while gay rights organizations have accused the Trump administration of actively engaging in hate against gay people.