Excellent news tonight from the United Nations, where members voted to restore "sexual orientation" to a General Assembly resolution that condemns "extrajudicial, summary and arbitrary executions." The reference to sexual orientation has been included in the biennial resolution since 1999 but failed November 16 on a vote of 165-0, with ten abstentions, including the United States.
Rights groups worked ahead of the vote to lobby countries that had abstained earlier in hopes of getting them to approve a U.S.-sponsored amendment to restore the words "sexual orientation." Colombia and South Africa were among the countries they persuaded to approve the amendment. The assembly on Tuesday voted 93 in favor of the United States' proposal to restore the previous language, with 55 countries against and 27 abstaining. The assembly then approved the amended resolution 122 in favor, with 0 votes against, and 59 abstentions.
U.S. Secretary of State Hillary Rodham Clinton applauded the vote, saying that the U.S. reintroduced the language to send an unequivocal message that "No one should be killed for who they are." "Sadly, many people around the world continue to be targeted and killed because of their sexual orientation," she said. "These heinous crimes must be condemned and investigated wherever they occur."
Ambassador Susan Rice lobbied member states to approve the resolution. The main opposition to the amendment came from Muslim and African nations, which had led last month's push to delete the reference to sexual orientation, reports The New Civil Rights Movement.
Suggesting LGBT peoples are weak and invited discrimination, the United Arab Emirates spoke at length, and said it “rejects firmly” the “controversial” statement that has “no legal foundation.”
The African Group representative said they were “gravely alarmed” with the “undefined notion of sexual orientation,” and called the attempt to restore the term a “systematic attempt to create new rights,” and said it would “jeopardize the entire human rights framework… to achieve narrow political gain.”
In a major switch, South Africa voted for the resolution, after having voted to remove sexual orientation from the resolution last month. Rwanda also spoke very eloquently. But Zimbabwe, calling the text “adventurism,” also likened homosexuality to bestiality and said “individual proclivities should be just that.”
Prior to the vote, Zimbabwe's U.N. Ambassador Chitsaka Chipaziwa slammed the U.S. amendment and compared it to "accepting such practices as bestiality [and] pedophilia." Zimbabwe's despotic government is rabidly anti-gay. President Robert Mugabe once infamously described gays as "worse than dogs and pigs" ... and recently apologized to dogs and pigs for the comparison.
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