united nations

Ambassador Rice Wants The UN To Protect Gays From State-Sponsored Slaughter. Without America’s Vote

The Obama administration’s seemingly hypocritical stances aren’t limited to domestic issues like Don’t Ask Don’t Tell (publicly denounce the law, then defend it in court while doing nearly nothing to push through a legislative repeal). They’re also alive and well on the world stage. Like the United Nations. Where the U.S. was, supposedly, disappointed to see an anti-senseless-murder resolution move forward without LGBT protections. So, says U.S. ambassador Susan E. Rice, the United States will push to add an amendment to the resolution that will protect queers. Not that the U.S. will necessarily vote for it. Uh, really?

The measure — titled “UN Resolution Condemning Extrajudicial, Summary, and Arbitrary Execution” — effectively updates the U.N.’s 1948 Universal Declaration of Human Rights by barring member nations from, literally, slaughtering human beings without good reason. Sounds like a reasonable thing to adhere to, right? Then how come the United States won’t even vote in support of it?

America has abstained from voting on the measure every single year it has ever come up. Just like they did again last month, where Arab and African nations led by Morocco and Mali succeeded in excluding sexual orientation from the list of vulnerable people that don’t deserve to have a machete slice their heads off because of the way they were born.

Why won’t the U.S. won’t vote for the resolution? Because we regularly engage in murdering people in a way that, uh, violates this resolution. (I’m sure there are some policy wonks out there about to get on my case about why the U.S. really won’t vote for the resolution, and I welcome their expertise.)

Which makes Ambassador Rice’s comments — that she wants to introduce a LGBT-inclusive amendment to the resolution — both preposterous and sickening. How can the U.S. back an amendment that bars state-sponsored murder of gays (hello, Uganda) and then provide no indication it’ll actually vote for it? That’s like Obama proposing economic reform, and then saying that, well, he’s not sure he’ll vote for it. Or saying gays shouldn’t be discriminated against in the military, but not using his executive power to stop it. In a word, the gesture is meaningless. It shows that when it comes to global gays, the U.S. has no real convictions, only sketches of them.

Speaking Friday (on Human Rights Day, which celebrates the U.N. ratifying the Universal Declaration of Human Rights), Rice said she plans to introduce the amendment when the General Assembly meets against Dec. 20.

Around the world, laws that criminalize gay relationships don’t just violate human rights. They hinder social cohesion, economic development, and public health. They reduce trust and cooperation among nations. So the United States will work together with our fellow Core Group members to urge countries that still have such laws to repeal them. And I hope we will all work together to develop a sustained, serious plan of action to decriminalize homosexuality around this world that we share.

Here at the United Nations, like many of you, I was incensed by the recent vote in the General Assembly’s Third Committee, which eliminated any mention of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender individuals from a resolution condemning extrajudicial killing of vulnerable people around the world. We fought hard for that reference when it came to a Committee vote, and we lost. But we’re not done yet. The resolution now goes to the full General Assembly. For countries that voted in the Committee to keep the reference to sexual orientation, we thank you. For countries that haven’t yet done so, we urge you to join us. And for countries that have supported this reference in the past but changed course this year, we urge you to stand again with us and with all vulnerable people around the world at risk of violence. We are going to fight to restore the reference to sexual orientation. We’re going to stand firm on this basic principle. And we intend to win.

And then she will leave the room, because the U.S. isn’t voting for it.

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  • Adam

    Firstly for why the US tends not to vote for any UN resolutions is that they refuse to recognise any resolution or law passed internationally that supersedes their own internal laws, Secondly this is hardly the worst vote the US has made in the UN, For a full list of abstentions and vetoes see:


    Some great ones include voting against the rights of a child, against the human right to food & safety and many others.

  • reason

    Two words: American Exceptionalism

  • Kevin

    Wait wait… you’re COMPLAINING that America would vote against a right to food? Sorry, but your “right” to food goes as far as your willingness and ability to grow it, hunt for it, and/or provide a good or service worth trading for it.

  • jacknasty82

    um Kevin, those protections apply to populations like prisons, war camps and people locked up abroad…you know people who have no way to hunt, grow food or provide services worth trading for. Unless you’re suggesting countries be allowed to starve POW’s and the like.

  • Andrew

    @Kevin: Talk about an outdated 18th century mentality.

  • Patrick Garies

    @Kevin: If we have unalienable rights to “LIFE, Liberty, and the pursuit of Happiness”, I can see there being a pretty strong argument for a right to food.

  • jason

    You truly have to wonder about the Obama administration. The sooner he is voted out of office, the better.

  • Joe

    How dare Queerty criticize the Obama Administration? No one should dare question Obama’s stand on anything! The zombie followers of his now must swamp this thread and defend Barack with the same ole’ “…change takes a long time”, “Barack is doing things to help the gay cause behind the scenes.” and “Would you rather have McCain?”.

    Queerty is one of only a few sites that actually insist that Obama be held to the standards that any other politician be held.
    Furthermore, Queerty feels that Obama should be quizzed when his campaign promises of: rights for gays and a transparent government come into question.

    Bravo, Queerty!

  • Josh

    ^^What he said^^

    It’s RIDICULOUS how much slack Obama supporters have given him on his failure to follow through with his LGBT campaign promises…as though it’s more important to support him than it is to support an issue.

  • Jim Hlavac

    It’s stories like this that serve to remind us gay folks to embrace the TEA Party movement — and then hold their feet to the fire — for Liberty for All is not some abstraction only for heteros. But if we wade on into the TEA Party — for we too are Taxed Enough Already — and tell them — look, it’s all of us. We’re truly all in this together against the disaster of the Obama Administration. I well realize this is not a popular or even easily digestible idea, but really — Liberty for All and “Don’t Tread on Me” and “Let my people go” — these are gay mottos. We said them first. Many TEA party folks are mad at the use of “Teabagger” and I have waded into their mush and told them “you don’t want to know what a Tea Party was.”

    Let us hold the TEA folks to their words. Liberty for All. But there is no point in being with Obama — and Clinton who brought us DADT & DOMA. They are Democratic policies used to castigate Republicans. While meanwhile, the Democratic Black Baptist ministers worked hand in hand with the Republican Mormon and Evangelists in California. And Obama meets with anti-gay Democrats — while Huckabee meets with anti-gay Republicans. What was the difference between the two “sides” of the great gay debate? It was nothing. They are peas in the same pod. No, let us go tell the people who proclaim Liberty for All that we are with them — so long as it includes “all” and not just some.

    And that’s a radical homo for you — Liberty for All, and lower my damn taxes!

  • Soupy

    A true libertarian should have no problems with gay rights. But most of the tea party will. Unfortunately, there politics are invariably linked to their religion. If they don’t want mosques in their neighbourhood, they sure as hell don’t want gay bars.

  • Jeffree

    No thank you. Many of the teabaggers are Dominionists, who want to turn the US into a Christian Theocracy. I’ve spent hours reading some of their literature, and they are serious about that.

    They’ve toned that rhetoric down a couple degrees, but it’s not a group I would ever support.

    Also, it’s not a very welcoming group for LGBTs or people of color.

  • j

    @Jim Hlavac: Radical? More like simplistic. You follow your little action plan and tell us all how it goes. We’ll all be so jealous of your christian theocracy, how few rights women have in it and just the general air of oppression and downright craziness I guess. But hey! At least you get sarah palin in the white house instead of obama; making all the policy decisions, negotiating with foreign diplomats. How cool would that be??

  • Danny

    The only mistake the GLBTA community has made is thinking that diplomacy will somehow stop corrupt politicians and religious leaders from violating human rights. Did diplomacy stop Hitler, the Third Reich? Did diplomacy stop Americans from carrying out slavery? Did diplomacy get Native Americans or any indigenous population treated well, or did they wind up on reservations or worse? You cannot expect civil society to function when one side defines itself by violating your human rights through superstition or greed or ignorance or plain evil. Have you ever bothered counting the number of government officials and religious leaders around the world that are responsible for human rights violations? It is tiny compared to the number of people experiencing human rights violations. Heck, the GLBTA community is more than one-third of the world’s population – more than 2.2 billion people? Why are human rights violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity being permitted to take place? Can anyone answer that?

  • baggers are ignorant

    “embrace the TEA Party movement — and then hold their feet to the fire”
    at least some people should do this.
    Consider that the repugs in the 80’s had to choose between retaining their aryans vs eventually gaining a few michael steele-es and alan keyes-es (though still kooks and just mediocre politicians).
    Meanwhile, do the same with the dems.
    the difference between nonvoting activity vs voting activity, is that you vote to win. (these days the lesser evil is the dems.)

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