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Old December 19th, 2008, 05:56 AM   #1
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U.S. alone among western nations ...



US balks at backing condemnation of anti-gay laws





By DAVID CRARY, AP National Writer David Crary, Ap National Writer – Fri Dec 19, 12:08 am ET











UNITED NATIONS – Alone among major Western nations, the United States has refused to sign a declaration presented Thursday at the United Nations calling for worldwide decriminalization of homosexuality.



In all, 66 of the U.N.'s 192 member countries signed the nonbinding declaration — which backers called a historic step to push the General Assembly to deal more forthrightly with any-gay discrimination. More than 70 U.N. members outlaw homosexuality, and in several of them homosexual acts can be punished by execution.



Co-sponsored by France and the Netherlands, the declaration was signed by all 27 European Union members, as well as Japan, Australia, Mexico and three dozen other countries. There was broad opposition from Muslim nations, and the United States refused to sign, indicating that some parts of the declaration raised legal questions that needed further review.



"It's disappointing," said Rama Yade, France's human rights minister, of the U.S. position — which she described as in contradiction with America's long tradition as a defender of human rights.



According to some of the declaration's backers, U.S. officials expressed concern in private talks that some parts of the declaration might be problematic in committing the federal government on matters that fall under state jurisdiction. In numerous states, landlords and private employers are allowed to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation; on the federal level, gays are not allowed to serve openly in the military.



Carolyn Vadino, a spokeswoman for the U.S. mission to the U.N., stressed that the United States — despite its unwillingness to sign — condemned any human rights violations related to sexual orientation. Then put your money where your mouth is



Gay rights activists nonetheless were angered by the U.S. position.



"It's an appalling stance — to not join with other countries that are standing up and calling for decriminalization of homosexuality," said Paula Ettelbrick, executive director of the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission.



She expressed hope that the U.S. position might change after President-elect Barack Obama takes office in January.



Also denouncing the U.S. stance was Richard Grenell, who until two months ago had been the chief spokesman for the U.S. mission to the U.N.



"It is ridiculous to suggest that there are legal reasons why we can't support this resolution — common sense says we should be the leader in making sure other governments are granting more freedoms for their people, not less," said Grenell, who described himself as a gay Republican. "The U.S. lack of support on this issue only dims our once bright beacon of hope and freedom for those who are persecuted and oppressed." It's appalling that some third world nations are ahead of the U.S. on this issue - and yet we travel the world "spreading freedom"



More than 50 countries opposed to the declaration, including members of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, issued a joint statement Thursday criticizing the initiative as an unwarranted attempt to give special prominence to gays and lesbians. The statement suggested that protecting sexual orientation could lead to "the social normalization and possibly the legalization of deplorable acts" such as pedophilia and incest.



The declaration also has been opposed by the Vatican, a stance which prompted a protest in Rome earlier this month.



A Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, said the Roman Catholic Church opposed the death penalty and other harsh repression of gays and lesbians, but he expressed concern that the declaration would be used as pressure against those who believe marriage rights should not be extended to gays.



A new Vatican statement, issued Thursday, endorsed the call to end criminal penalties against gays, but said that overall the declaration "gives rise to uncertainty in the law and challenges existing human norms."



The European nations backing the declaration waged their campaign in conjunction with the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights.



The Dutch foreign affairs minister, Maxime Verhagen, said countries that endorsed that 1948 document had no right to carve out exceptions based on religion or culture that allowed discrimination against gays.



"Human rights apply to all people in all places at all times," he said. "I will not accept any excuse."



He acknowledged that the new declaration had only symbolic import, but said it marked the first time such a large number of nations had raised the cause of gay rights in the context of General Assembly proceedings. Of course, the U.S. is alone in the Western world in our cocoon of ignorance



"This statement aims to make debate commonplace," he said. "It is not meant to be a source of division, but to eliminate the taboo that surrounds the issue."



Although the declaration's backers were pleased that nations on six continents had signed it, there were only two from Asia and four from Africa.
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Old December 19th, 2008, 06:14 AM   #2
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What does the resolution say? If its the decriminalization of homosexuality, I don't know how that can be construed to create a federal anti-gay discrimination law.
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Old December 19th, 2008, 06:31 AM   #3
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Here's the text and my comments on the argument it will require states to pass anti-gay discrimination laws:



Petition “For a universal decriminalization of homosexuality”



Considering



The Universal declaration of Human Rights



Article 1.



All human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights.They are endowed with reason and conscience and should act towards one another in a spirit of brotherhood.



Article 2.



Everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth in this Declaration, without distinction of any kind, such as race, colour, sex, language, religion, political or other opinion, national or social origin, property, birth or other status.




Most states don't have discrimination laws based on social origin, property, birth or "other status", so it doesn't seem like these preambles created any rights.





Article 3.



Everyone has the right to life, liberty and security of person.



Article 12.



No one shall be subjected to arbitrary interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to attacks upon his honour and reputation. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks. This is apparently already in place and hasn't caused anyone to argue that this language requires states to pass anti-gay discrimination laws.



Considering



The International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (adopted by General Assembly resolution 2200A (XXI) of 16 December 1966, entry into force 23 March 1976)



Article 17



1. No one shall be subjected to arbitrary or unlawful interference with his privacy, family, home or correspondence, nor to unlawful attacks on his honour and reputation.



2. Everyone has the right to the protection of the law against such interference or attacks.



Considering



The Human Rights Committee’s decision in Toonen v. Australia (04 April 1994)



We ask the United Nations to request a universal abolition of the so-called “crime of homosexuality”, of all “sodomy laws”, and laws against so-called “unnatural acts” in all the countries where they still exist
. This is the only substantive part that I can see. I can't see anyone (well, I can but its immaterial given SCOTUS decisions) worried about the "crime of homosexuality" and "sodomy laws" language. This leaves the "laws against 'unnatural acts'" language. Not having a gay discrimination statute is not the same as having a law against unnatural acts so why not sign it?



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Old December 19th, 2008, 06:35 AM   #4
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Canada balked as well.

Gay activists urge Ottawa to sign global declaration



I guess the North isn't "Western" anymore. Or somebody is lying.
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Old December 19th, 2008, 06:37 AM   #5
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It's nice to know the company we are in on this issue. I guess we don't understand the meaning of "non-binding". There is no good reason for the U.S. as a country to be against this resolution. It's not like it is demanding that everyone ACCEPT homosexuality as "normal" or anything. It's just saying that countries should not make it a crime to be gay.



I'm just a little more embarassed to be an American today.
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Old December 19th, 2008, 06:45 AM   #6
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Quote:
Originally Posted by tyrone_det
Not having a gay discrimination statute is not the same as having a law against unnatural acts so why not sign it?


because it makes bigots unhappy - and bigots have BIG influence in this nation of ours
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Old December 19th, 2008, 07:02 AM   #7
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There were two non-binding declarations read. No mention of the other one. Which also had 60 or so signees.



http://www.speroforum.com/a/17281/Du...United-Nations
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Old December 19th, 2008, 07:28 AM   #8
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I love all the "mental masturbation" that the UN does. Why have all this debate and brouhaha over NON BINDING resolutions in the first place?
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Old December 19th, 2008, 07:32 AM   #9
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Tigerwiccan
I love all the "mental masturbation" that the UN does. Why have all this debate and brouhaha over NON BINDING resolutions in the first place?
And we agree. It goes back the shaming though. If you don't sign you are baad. As we see here.
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Old December 19th, 2008, 07:34 AM   #10
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Quote:
Originally Posted by fxashun
And we agree. It goes back the shaming though. If you don't sign you are baad. As we see here.


It's just ironic that our country is on the same side of an issue as people that would see our heads on poles for letting our women show their legs in public, that's all.
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