Gay Rights Gain Ground With the UN Vote

The United States, specifically the Bush Administration drew world-wide criticism again this past Thursday (12/18/08) as it refused to endorse the declaration put forward by France seeking to decriminalize homosexuality in the world.

According to the NY Times, Rama Yade the French state secretary for human rights, and Maxime Verhagen,the Dutch foreign minister spoke out at a later press conference saying that they were disappointed in the U.S. for not supporting the French-proposed declaration. Scott Long of the Human Rights Watch said, “The Bush Administration is trying to come up with Christmas Presents for the religious right so it will be remembered.”

The declaration gained the support of 66 countries in the UN’s general assembly, most heavily from Europe and Latin America. But due to the opposition against it, including the United States, Russia, the Conference of Islamic States and the Catholic church the measure was forced to only be presented as a non-binding declaration, rather than a resolution.

An opposing statement was also read at the general assembly, and was supported by 60 countries. In part it read that the effort threatened to undermine the international framework of human rights by trying to normalize pedophilia.

But a lot of good came out of the discussion, according to many gay-rights groups. It was the first time LGBT rights have ever been openly discussed in the general assembly, and it gives hope to the nations of the world for the future of the human rights movement.

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