Photo: Ambassador Mari Carmen Aponte Under Fire for Gay Rights OpEd
Ambassador Mari Carmen Aponte was heavily criticized by a coalition formed by 42 pro-life and pro family groups, and the church in El Salvador where she serves as the U.S. Ambassador.
Mrs. Aponte published an OpEd in El Salvador’s Prensa Gráfica titled “For the Elimination of Prejudice, Wherever It Is.”
In the article Aponte discussed June having been proclaimed Gay Pride Month in the US and America’s commitment to ending sexual orientation based violence and discrimination around the world. She also applauded the government of President Mauricio Funes for their continued efforts in favor of gay rights on a national and international scale.
Finally, she said that the responsibility of promoting gay rights is not only on the government’s shoulders but also on “each one of us.” She added that each generation had to bring their countries closer to equality and noted that progress would take time, but that the “diversity of the Americas” would be celebrated.
In response to Aponte’s article, a combination of domestic and foreign pro-life and pro-family groups, Christian communities and several church groups accused her of violating the Vienna Convention of the U.N. General Assembly, which states that diplomats are obligated not to interfere in the internal affairs of the receiving state, and that other states have the duty to respect the character of other states.
The coalition for life and family said they agreed with the ambassador when she said there should not be “violence against homosexuals, bisexuals, transsexuals, etc.” but just like there should not be violence “against thin, fat, tall or short people.
“Not accepting the legitimacy of ‘sexual diversity’ does not mean we are violating any human right,” one group said before ending with “We prefer to feel proudly ‘old fashioned,’ keep our moral values, preserve our families and posses the clarity of what defines good and evil.”
An U.S. Embassy official in El Salvador, who asked not to be named because he wasn’t authorized to speak to the media, said in a July 6 interview with CNA that the ambassador “was not commenting on foreign culture and laws; (she) was restating U.S. policy,” because President Obama and Secretary Clinton have stated this position previously.
“One of the reasons that we have ambassadors around the world is to explain U.S. policy outside of our border, so that is what she was doing,” he explained. “She is the president’s representative in this country.”
It is evident however, that el Salvador wants nothing to do with the “progressive” stance of the US on the subject, and furiously insist that the Ambassador stay away from their affairs, their values, or leave.