U.S. Government Defends Voting Against U.N. Ban on Death Penalty For Homosexuality

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The Trump administration is insisting it does not agree with using the death penalty for homosexuality, despite voting against a United Nations resolution to abolish the practice.

The resolution, which condemned the use of the death penalty “arbitrarily or in a discriminatory manor,” passed 27-13 last Friday. It called for capital punishment to be banned “as a sanction for specific forms of conduct, such as apostasy, blasphemy, adultery, and same-sex relationships,” and criticized its use on minors, mentally ill people, and pregnant women.

Related | U.S. Votes Against U.N. Ban On Death Penalty For Homosexuality

When news broke that the United States had voted in opposition to the ban, queer activists were rightfully appalled. In a statement issued Thursday, Ty Cobb, director of HRC Global, said: “While the UN Human Rights Council took this crucially important step, the Trump/Pence administration failed to show leadership on the world stage by not championing this critical measure.”

“The United States is disappointed to have voted against that resolution,” State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert assured journalists on Thursday.

We voted against that resolution because of broader concerns with the resolution’s approach in condemning the death penalty in all circumstances, and it called for the abolition of the death penalty altogether. We had hoped for a balanced and inclusive resolution that would better reflect the positions of states that continue to apply the death penalty lawfully, as the United States does.”

Still, it is disturbing to see the President of the United States side, however remorsefully, with notoriously anti-LGBT countries like Egypt and Saudi Arabia on human rights issues. Disappointing, but perhaps not surprising.

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