The Associated Press is
reporting that the Obama administration will endorse a United Nations
resolution that calls for the universal decriminalization of being
gay; reversing the position of the Bush administration.
The news agency quotes an unnamed
source as saying the U.S. has notified French officials – the
resolution was sponsored by France and the Netherlands at the request
of gay activist Louis-Georges Tin, the founder of the International
Day against Homophobia (IDAHO) – that the administration has agreed
to support the resolution.
The United States was the only western
government refusing to sign on.
The news agency says the official spoke
on condition of anonymity because Congress has yet to be briefed on
the matter. He said the United States was concerned about “violence
and human rights abuses against gay, lesbian, transsexual and
bisexual individuals” and was also “troubled by the
criminalization of sexual orientation in many countries.”
“In the words of the United States
Supreme Court, the right to be free from criminalization on the basis
of sexual orientation 'has been accepted as an integral part of human
freedom',” the official said.
The resolution was read in December and
supported by 66 countries, including all European countries, Canada,
Japan and Mexico.
Gay rights leaders in the United States
were appalled to learn of the Vatican's opposition to the resolution
because it might promote gay marriage.
“As faith leaders we were shocked by
Vatican opposition to this proposed initiative,” a coalition of gay
rights leaders said in a statement. “Most Catholics, and indeed
most Catholic teachings, tell us that all people are entitled to live
with basic human dignity without the threat of violence.”
The statement signed on by the Human
Rights Campaign, along with faith program directors from the National
Gay and Lesbian Task Force, Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against
Defamation and National Black Justice Coalition also urged “U.S.
leaders to stand against discrimination.”
The U.N. resolution carries no power of
law, but it does send a powerful signal to the world. It condemns
violence, harassment, discrimination, exclusion, stigmatization and
prejudice based on sexual orientation and gender identity. And
declares that targeting gays for executions or killings, torture,
arbitrary arrest or deprivation of economic, social and cultural
rights is wrong.
The pro-gay resolution was met with an
equally forceful, Arab-backed statement opposing it. The anti-gay
statement was read out by a Syrian delegate and gathered more than 60
It condemned homosexuality:
“[Decriminalizing] homosexuality could lead] to the social
normalization, and possibly the legitimization, of many deplorable
acts including pedophilia.”