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Thread: U.S. balks at backing condemnation of anti-gay laws

  1. #1
    Elite Member celeb_2006's Avatar
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    Default U.S. balks at backing condemnation of anti-gay laws

    US balks at backing condemnation of anti-gay laws - Yahoo! News

    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.
    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."
    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.
    "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.

  2. #2
    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    Let's ask rick warren what he thinks, someone get Obama on the phone.

    *spits*
    I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you.

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    Elite Member MohandasKGanja's Avatar
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    Being a secularist myself, it is tantalizing to think about how codifying the recognition of homosexual rights would roll back the various groups promoting some form of Sharia, Judeo-Christian, and who-knows-what-else laws that are trying to ooze back into the public arena.

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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    Bah, dinosaurs best left consigned to the dustbin of history!

    Amazing how a little noble thing called "equal rights" would result in the destruction of the various religious powerbases, something they fear oh so very much.

    It's all about power, control, money. Religion is nothing other than a cover for fear and ignorance, used by the opportunistic to bilk the ignorant.

    Tear them all down.
    I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you.

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    Silver Member betagrl's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Grimmlok View Post
    Bah, dinosaurs best left consigned to the dustbin of history!

    Amazing how a little noble thing called "equal rights" would result in the destruction of the various religious powerbases, something they fear oh so very much.

    It's all about power, control, money. Religion is nothing other than a cover for fear and ignorance, used by the opportunistic to bilk the ignorant.

    Tear them all down.
    Right on!! I am so happy that the issue of religion is being discussed so frankly lately. I was thrilled that Religious was pretty well received and that the Mormons are getting major backlash for their support of Prop 8. And now with Rick Warren exposing himself for the asshat that he is, we've got another target for what I think is a brewing distaste for religion in this country.

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    Elite Member JamieElizabeth's Avatar
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    I've been looking at this for awhile. And think it's more complicated.

    I was reading a topic earlier on clery in my friend's blog from Iceland about 'unrefined and well brought up people.'

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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    No, it's really not.
    I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you.

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    Elite Member Aella's Avatar
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    What a shock. Not.
    "Remember to always be yourself. Unless you suck." - Joss Whedon

    "The only thing more expensive than education is ignorance." -Benjamin Franklin

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    Elite Member JamieElizabeth's Avatar
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    My friend's blog was on clergy, unrefined and brought up well.
    Oh, well, off topic.
    Last edited by JamieElizabeth; December 20th, 2008 at 02:18 PM. Reason: spelling

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    Elite Member nana55's Avatar
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    The AP didn't say, but did Canada sign?
    If I can't be a good example, then let me be a horrible warning.

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    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    I would think so, considering gay marriage is legal and gay sex hasn't been illegal for like.. what.. 30 years?
    I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you.

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    Elite Member sputnik's Avatar
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    yeah, not surprising.
    also, having worked in UN human rights negotiations for over 4 years, i can tell you that when US diplomats say something raises "legal questions that needed further review", that's code for we don't agree with it but want to save face and not look like bigoted douches. they did the same for the indigenous peoples' rights declaration and a whole bunch of other texts.
    I'm open to everything. When you start to criticise the times you live in, your time is over. - Karl Lagerfeld

  13. #13
    Elite Member Grimmlok's Avatar
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    land of the free, uhhuh..
    I am from the American CIA and I have a radio in my head. I am going to kill you.

  14. #14
    Elite Member nana55's Avatar
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    I still don't know why people want to continue to come here? Unless you want to be a movie star what are the perks of the United States?
    If I can't be a good example, then let me be a horrible warning.

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