Grenell: Push to decriminalize homosexuality 'wildly supported' by both parties

U.S. Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell said the Trump administration's new push to end the criminalization of homosexuality worldwide is "wildly supported by both parties" in an interview with NBC News Wednesday. 

“This is a bipartisan push. People understand — religious people, individuals who may not always be in the LGBTI fight — they understand that criminalizing homosexuality is absolutely wrong,” said Grenell, the highest-profile openly gay person in the administration.

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“It is unbelievable to believe that in today’s world a 32–year-old man in Iran can be hanged simply for being gay. That’s unacceptable.”

Grenell told NBC News that he had spoken to senators who would support leveraging U.S. economic aid on countries to force the eradication of laws criminalizing gay behavior.

“That’s certainly not going to be an easy task, but I think we’ve got some great support on the Hill,” he said.

The ambassador also responded to reports that the initiative launched by the U.S. government on Tuesday was meant to pressure Iran in particular.

“This is not about Iran. This is not just about Iran,” he said. “This is about 71 countries, and Iran is one of them.”

According to a 2017 report from the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association, 72 countries still criminalize homosexuality, including eight where it is punishable by death.

Asked whether people in the administration — such as Vice President Pence, who has been criticized for his stance on LGBT issues — support the push, Grenell said that “decriminalizing homosexuality is something that people absolutely agree is a policy that we have to move forward on.”