Obama Reverses U.S. Position on LGBT Issues at the UN

Friday, February 20, 2009

Now, this is change we can believe in.


In late December, the United Nations General Assembly held a vote on a statement calling for the universal decriminalization of homosexuality. France spearheaded the resolution, which was a 13 point declaration “to ensure that sexual orientation or gender identity may under no circumstances be the basis for criminal penalties, in particular executions, arrests or detention.” The statement received 60 votes in support, mostly from Europe and South America. Opposing the resolution, were the United States, the Holy See, and members of the Organization of the Islamic Conference.

At the time, the Bush administration couched its objection to the measure in legal technicalities.

Well, that was before Barack Obama was elected president.

At the “Durban Review Conference” on racism and xenophonia underway in Geneva, Europe again put forward language condemning “all forms of discrimination and all other human rights violations based on sexual orientation.” According to UN Watch:

“The Czech Republic on behalf of the E.U., with the support of New Zealand, the United States, Colombia, Chili on behalf of the South American states, the Netherlands, Argentina and a few others, took the floor in support.”

The efforts to include language on discrimination based on sexual orientation ended up failing for lack of support from non-western countries but it’s still a relief to see that the United States on the side of the enlightened on this issue of basic human rights.

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22 Responses to Obama Reverses U.S. Position on LGBT Issues at the UN

  1. Mauigirl says:

    I am SO glad to hear this!

  2. DMason says:

    Bush’s antigay policies and positions never made a lick of sense to me. I mean, here is a man who had some sort of 18 month relationship with the male hooker, Jeff Gannon, who slept over at the White House each time Pickles was out of town. I guess Bush is one of those classic, self-loathing ‘DL’ queers.

  3. Walk on Socks says:

    In a short period of time, Obama reversed the direction of the previous administration on everything from stem cells, to closing GITMO and our commitment to science.

    I agree. This is change not only we can believe in but desperately need.

  4. D.R.Scott says:

    One small step for LGBTs, one huge step for humanity.

  5. JollyRoger says:

    It’s got nothing to do with “enlightenment”; it’s a simple matter of right and wrong. It should be pounded into the head of every grade schooler that persecuting people who are just trying to live their lives and take care of those they love is just WRONG, period. No moral justification exists for continuing to even have to debate this shit.

    It sickens me that we’re still having this conversation in 2009. My Constitution, as originally written, is pretty clear about individuals being free to live their lives so long as they aren’t hurting other people in the process.

  6. Brigadoon says:

    Wow. This is huge. The previous administration was so uniformly antigay. President Obama gets props for this move. And to the people who continue to say Obama hasn’t accomplished anything and he’s no better than Bush, I say fuck off.

  7. stradella says:

    Wooo Hooo!

    The USA joins the civilized world on gay rights and not the radical, Middle East where gay people are regularly stoned to death.

  8. Harry says:

    All I can say is, finally.

  9. David says:

    Bravo. 🙂

  10. mane folk need to stay on the economy

  11. DR says:

    Uhm, not to be the negative Nelly or anything, but the US Supreme Court already ruled this type of discrimination illegal about 6 years ago. I know that it’s certainly good to see the current administration moving away from the path the Bush administration took on these issues, but you’re basically saying “sure, we won’t do something which our courts have already declared illegal in our country.” Very symbolic, sure, but meaningless until he tackles real issues like DADT, ENDA, and marriage rights.

  12. Fran says:

    This is a positive step in a good direction.
    We sure do need DADT & marriage rights addressed- but this is good news & we really need good news!

  13. Peace Nick says:

    If Obama wimps out on ending DADT, he’s going to have a very difficult time with the progressive wing of the party.

    Gays have had it with being thrown under the bus and off the overpass by timid politicians like Clinton and Bush.

    It stops with Obama.

  14. DR says:

    We hope it stops with Obama. He needs to move on ENDA or DADT NOW to keep me even remotely interested in him and prove that his pretty speeches are more than words.

  15. Idaho Librul says:

    Bush and his religious, fundie pals demonized gays for 8 years.

    Let’s not forget, in Bush’s first term, he argued in favor of a Constitutional amendment to outlaw gay marriage in all 50 states. He did this because the radical Bible thumpers had his ear and he carried their water because they were financial contributors to his campaign for president.

    The fact that President Obama directed our UN Ambassador to join with France (oh no, what happened to ‘Freedom Fries?’), the EU, New Zealand, Colombia, Chili, the Netherlands, and Argentina, in support of this measure is huge.

    We each want so much from our new president but let’s give the man a chance to get a few things done. I agree, DADT and DOMA must be on his agenda and until Obama shows me otherwise, I believe he will deliver.

  16. Arizona Leatherneck says:

    Conservatives have held the UN in contempt for many years. Ditto gays. Put the two together and rightwing heads explode.

    This is a giant step forward for our country and for the gay community. Before this, we couldn’t get a vote of support for a condemnation of Iran stoning gay Iranians to death.

  17. Conejo1982 says:

    This is a repudiation of not only the past 8 years under the Bush junta but a rejection of homophobia throughout the world.

    Nations who discriminate against LGBT people based on sexual orientation can no longer stand with the USA.

    I’m very pleased and I hope the repeal ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ is soon to follow.

  18. BradFrmPhnx says:

    Not that the United Nations has much to do with anything…but its still another breath of fresh air from our President. I agree with the posters who are wondering what the hell we are still debating this for in 2009. DADT is up next, and judging from the recent actions of Obama, gays will be able to openly serve in our military soon. Furthermore, if Obama’s economic policies prove worthwhile, it may open the door to at least having legal civil unions between gays. All his successes, large and small, will make the redneck’s voice irrelevant.

  19. Maithri says:

    Fantastic news! Thanks for sharing this brother

  20. libhomo says:

    This is good news, but it doesn’t make up for no openly queer cabinet members and the involvement of Rick Warren in the inauguration.

  21. finally — i loved (or hated) the bush excuse for voting against A SYMBOLIC VOTE – a technicality

  22. Sandy says:

    It’s so great to hear this! LGBT rights are seeing so much progress under the Obama administration so far. One of the things I think is most pressing is for Obama to repair the United States’ relationship with the UN (there’s a great essay on that subject called “Rejoining the World” by Jim Harkness and Alexandra Spieldoch in the new book from the Progressive Ideas Network, Thinking Big) – so it’s good to see him killing two birds with one stone.

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