United States Votes Against UN Condemning Death Penalty for Gay People


The United Nations Human Rights Council (UNHRC) voted to condemn the death penalty for "apostasy, blasphemy, adultery, and consensual same-sex relations", but the U.S. voted against it.

Why did US vote against the resolution? It's hardly a complicated position to say that while the USA continues to support a country's right to utilize capital punishment against its most egregious criminals, it does not consider being gay to be a crime (let alone a awful one) and as such condemns countries that kill their LGBT citizens.

Although the vote passed, the United States joined countries such as China, Iraq and Saudi Arabia in opposing the move.

The U.S. was one of the 13 nations that voted against the resolution, and there's been an outcry on social media, as well as some media outlets, saying the U.S.is in favor of the death penalty for the LGBT community. In 2016, the USA remained in the top ten among countries worldwide in terms of number of prisoners confirmed to have been executed, according to the Death Penalty Information Center. In a tweet, Haley said there was "NO vote by USUN that supported the death penalty for gay people", adding, "We have always fought for justice for the LGBT community".

When news broke that the United States had voted in opposition to the ban, queer activists were rightfully appalled. While the resolution does refer to various other times the death penalty has been condemned, the actual resolution's recommendations only address the discriminatory implementation of the death penalty. The Human Rights Campaign said the Trump administration showed a "blatant disregard" for the lives of homosexuals around the globe.

The only difference in the most recent resolution, Angelo said, was a reference to a new United Nations secretary general's report saying the death penalty is used to target gays, people suspected of being gay and those in same-sex relationships.

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The resolution asked countries that have not yet abolished the death penalty to ensure that it is not "applied arbitrarily or in a discriminatory manner". If we included parts of Syria and Iraq occupied by ISIS, it rises to eight.

But an LGBT Republican group maintains characterizing the resolution as a measure against the death penalty for gays is off base. Last year, the USA was one of the top ten among countries to use the death penalty, according to the Death Penalty Information Centre.

As to the Second Protocol the resolution encourages countries to sign, it's already been signed by nearly all of Europe and South America, Australia, Canada, Mexico, and South Africa, among others.

The US State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert yesterday clarified their position.

The International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA) claimed the tabled amendments were just an attempt to reduce the impact of the resolution.