Democratic presidential candidate Joe Biden said Thursday that Saudi Arabia has “very little social redeeming value.”
Biden spoke at the CNN LGBTQ forum in Los Angeles focusing on lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer issues. The former vice president criticized Saudi Arabia for the country’s anti-LGBTQ laws.
“I would, in fact, curtail aid, curtail foreign assistance to countries who, in fact, engage in this kind of behavior,” he said. “Just like I would if I were dealing with China and what they’re doing to the Uighurs, a million Uighurs … Muslims. So what’s the difference? It is pure, unadulterated prejudice.”
“Saudi Arabia — same thing,” the former vice president added. “They have very little social redeeming value.”
Biden acknowledged the United States’ relationship with the country, but called its track record of how it treats LGBTQ people intolerable.
“I’ve been blunt about it. I’ve been very, very blunt about it. I know they are supposedly our ally and all the rest,” he said. “Look, there are certain things that we cannot tolerate. We cannot be part of propping up governments who abuse in any fundamental — culture is never a rationale for pain, never a rationale. It really isn’t.”
Same-sex relationships are criminalized in Saudi Arabia and homosexuality is punishable in Saudi Arabia with death, according to Amnesty International. The country allegedly does not have written laws on sexual orientation or on gender identity but follows Sharia law, the Guardian reported.
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