The Trump administration has "great support" on Capitol Hill — as well as from religious conservatives — for its global effort to decriminalize homosexuality, according to U.S. Ambassador to Germany Richard Grenell.
In an interview with NBC News, the seasoned diplomat said he believes the narrow focus of the initiative will avoid resistance from some of President Donald Trump's base, including evangelicals who have resisted policies like gay marriage.
"This is a bipartisan push," Grenell, who is the highest-profile openly gay person serving in the Trump administration, told NBC News. "People understand — religious people, individuals who may not always be in the [lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and intersex] fight — they understand that criminalizing homosexuality is absolutely wrong.
"It is unbelievable . . . that in today's world a 32 –year-old man in Iran can be hanged simply for being gay. That's unacceptable."
Grenell acknowledged the push to pressure 71 nations that still penalize homosexual activity to change their laws is "certainly not going to be an easy task."
"I think we've got some great support on the Hill," he told NBC News.
According to the news outlet, homosexuality is punishable by death not only in Iran, but also in Saudi Arabia while Pakistan, Egypt, the United Arab Emirates and other U.S. partners also have laws on the books used to penalize same sex activity.
The initiative has surprised some LGBT activists, including Stuart Milk, the nephew of civil rights leader Harvey Milk.
"My criticism of the Trump administration has been steady," Milk told NBC News. "I have actually said that policies coming out of the White House and statements have been life-negating, not just for LGBT people but for many, many communities.
"But when any administration does something right, we're going to be there."
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