The United Nations has come out with a resolution condemning violence against gays and lesbians
The declaration was cautiously worded, expressing “grave concern” about abuses because of sexual orientation and commissioning a global report on discrimination against gays.
But activists called it an important shift on an issue that has divided the global body for decades, and they credited the Obama administration’s push for gay rights at home and abroad.
Following tense negotiations, members of the Geneva-based U.N. Human Rights Council narrowly voted in favor of the declaration put forward by South Africa, with 23 votes in favor and 19 against.
Backers included the U.S., the European Union, Brazil and other Latin American countries. Those against included Russia, Saudi Arabia, Nigeria and Pakistan. China, Burkina Faso and Zambia abstained, Kyrgyzstan didn’t vote and Libya was suspended from the rights body earlier.
This is a move forward for the protection of gays and lesbians around the world. As would be expected, representatives of some countries spoke loudly against the resolution.
“We are seriously concerned at the attempt to introduce to the United Nations some notions that have no legal foundation,” said Zamir Akram, Pakistan’s envoy to the U.N. in Geneva, speaking on behalf of the Organization of the Islamic Conference.
Nigeria claimed the proposal went against the wishes of most Africans. A diplomat from the northwest African state of Mauritania called the resolution “an attempt to replace the natural rights of a human being with an unnatural right.”
Although the UN has no way to enforce any of its resolutions, they can be used by the international community to pressure countries into relaxing their laws. In many countries homosexuality is rewarded by jail time, and in some cases, death. In almost all cases, this hatred is pushed by religious leaders, both Christian and Muslim. With very few exceptions, improved gay rights along with women’s rights are closely tied with increasing secularism.
Religion–providing privilege for straight males for thousands of years.