Tuesday, December 21, 2010

Culture war at the United Nations ends with victory for gay rights organizations.

Lexington, KY -- Nearly a month after the United Nations General Assembly's Human Rights Committee approved an Arab and African proposal to cut the reference to slayings due to sexual orientation from a resolution on extrajudicial, summary and arbitrary executions, international pressure lead by the United States Ambassador to the United Nations, Susan Rice, as well as the United States Secretary of State, Hillary Rodham Clinton, the original text has been reinstated.

The United States Department of State 'incensed' sexual orientation be added back to the list of protected minorities and a culture war broke out at the United Nations over whether gay people should be offered the same protections as other minorities whose lives are threatened under the United Nations Declaration of Human Rights.

The International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA), a non-government United Nations observer and its 600 member organizations, including Kentucky Equality Federation, condemned the action by the United Nations General Assembly last month.

The 192-nation General Assembly approved a U.S. amendment to the resolution that restored the reference to sexual orientation with 93 votes in favor, 55 against and 27 abstentions. The amended resolution was then adopted with 122 yes votes, none against and 59 abstentions.

The main opposition to the United States amendment came from Muslim and African nations, which had led the push to delete the reference to sexual preference from the resolution last month.

"We recognize that the fight at the United Nations underscores the historic split over gay rights at the United Nations and their diverse religious and cultural sensibilities, stated Kentucky Equality Federation President Jordan Palmer.  "However, no State at the United Nations has the right to deprive someone of life because of the way they are born; we all have the right to live and to protect ourselves and our families."

Richard T. Jones, Kentucky Equality Federation's Chairman of the Board of Directors reiterated that the decision the United Nations General Assembly's Human Rights Committee made in removing protections for sexual orientation was contrary to the directives of the head of the United Nations, Secretary-General, Ban Ki-moon, who in September 2010 stated: "The responsibilities of the United Nations and the obligations of States are clear. No-one, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity, should be subjected to torture or to cruel, inhuman or degrading treatment. No-one should be prosecuted for their ideas or beliefs. No-one should be punished for exercising their right to freedom of expression."

"We are very happy for the outcome of this vote," said Gloria Careaga and Renato Sabbadini, ILGA co-Secretaries General. "It restores the original inclusive language of the resolution on extra-judicial executions and acknowledges that indeed many people around the world are killed every year because of their sexual orientation. We also know that many people are killed because of their gender identity or expression and we believe that the language of the resolution should refer to this as well – a proposal to be taken in consideration in the future by all United Nations States which voted in favor of today's amendment."

In the United States, Fox News mocked the fighting at the United Nations over gay rights.

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