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Nations sign up for global gay law reform

Fri 12 Dec 2008 In: Features View at Wayback View at NDHA

Vexing the Vatican: A gay couple kisses in St. Peter's Square Between 15-20 December, a statement organised by France will be read at the United Nations General Assembly. Seeking an end to discrimination against LGBT people, and a measure of decriminalisation, part of this statement says: "We urge States to take all the necessary measures, in particular legislative or administrative, to ensure that sexual orientation or gender identity may under no circumstances be the basis for criminal penalties, in particular executions, arrests or detention." This is important. There has been no similar call before the UN as a whole before. Nevertheless, it should be remembered, this is merely a statement, not a declaration, or resolution. As such, there is no vote, and it is not binding. There are currently, as at 12 December 2008, 58 countries (listed below) have signed on to support the statement. This is a small number, but it is also significant. While the "usual suspects" are there in the list of supporters, including New Zealand, Gabon, an African country, and one of the few to support the statement, is currently going to read the statement. Significantly, the US has made no commitment. But opposition is being led by the Vatican, which, given their record on LGBT issues, should come as no surprise. They teach that LGBT people are intrinsically disordered, and actively discriminate against us- all the time while claiming to oppose "unjust" discrimination against us. They are supported in their campaign by the Organisation of Islamic States, which includes Iran, a country that regularly kills LGBT people. As usual, the Vatican has been less than honest in its opposition, claiming it would decriminalise same sex unions, and that it would force countries to do so. This is false. There is no mention in the statement about decriminalising same sex unions, and as a statement, not a resolution, it does not "force" anyone to do anything. This hypocrisy, breaking one of their own commandments about bearing false witness is not unusual. Nor is their hypocrisy. They have also claimed that "no one wants the death penalty or jail or fines for homosexuals". Yet by opposing the statement, they are supporting Iran and others who imprison us and kill us for not being straight. Effectively they are saying "it's wrong to unjustly discriminate, but we have justifiable reasons for doing so" (god says so), and "while people shouldn't be killed for being gay, we support Iran and others doing so". That's just plain wrong.   There are 192 States of the United Nations, and one observer state (the Vatican). Countries supporting the UN statement for an end to discrimination against LGBT people: 1 Andorra 2 Argentina 3 Armenia 4 Australia 5 Austria 6 Belgium 7 Bosnia and Herzegovina 8 Brazil 9 Bulgaria 10 Canada 11 Cape Verde 12 Central African Republic 13 Chile 14 Croatia 15 Cyprus 16 Czech Republic 17 Denmark 18 Ecuador 19 Estonia 20 Finland 21 France 22 Gabon 23 Georgia 24 Germany 25 Greece 26 Hungary 27 Iceland 28 Ireland 29 Israel 30 Italy 31 Japan 32 Latvia 33 Liechtenstein 34 Lithuania 35 Luxembourg 36 Malta 37 Mexico 38 Montenegro 39 Netherlands 40 New Zealand 41 Norway 42 Poland 43 Portugal 44 Romania 45 San Marino 46 Serbia 47 Slovakia 48 Slovenia 49 Spain 50 Sweden 51 Switzerland 52 The Former Yugoslav Republic of Macedonia 53 United Kingdom 54 Uruguay 55 Venezuela And in the last 24 hours: Nepal, Cuba and Albania in that order. Expected to join with their support in the next few days are Paraguay, Colombia, Bolivia and Guatemala. Calum Bennachie - 12th December 2008    

Credit: Calum Bennachie

First published: Friday, 12th December 2008 - 1:44pm

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