Tuesday, March 17, 2009

U.S. to sign U.N. gay rights bill

Sources have said off the record that the U.S. is due to add its weight to a United Nations declaration that calls for the international decriminalization of homosexuality, according to the Associated Press:

WASHINGTON – The Obama administration will endorse a U.N. declaration calling for the worldwide decriminalization of homosexuality that then-President George W. Bush had refused to sign, The Associated Press has learned.

U.S. officials said Tuesday they had notified the declaration's French sponsors that the administration wants to be added as a supporter. The Bush administration was criticized in December when it was the only western government that refused to sign on.

The move was made after an interagency review of the Bush administration's position on the nonbinding document, which was signed by all 27 European Union members as well as Japan, Australia, Mexico and three dozen other countries, the officials said.

The officials spoke on condition of anonymity because Congress was still being notified of the decision. They said the administration had decided to sign the declaration to demonstrate that the United States supports human rights for all.
I find it interesting that Pres. Bush had the option of supporting this declaration in December, but his delegation refrained on the grounts that the U.S. opposed discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation but that parts of the declaration raised legal questions that needed further review, including parts that could commit the federal government on matters that fall under state jurisdiction. In some states, landlords and private employers are allowed to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation; on the federal level, gays are not allowed to serve openly in the military. Obama's camp had no response as to whether the Bush team's concerns had been addressed.

Now, let me be clear - I don't think that homosexuality should be a legal crime. I disagree with gay marriage, but what people do behind closed doors is their business - they have their agency, and they'll be held accountable for their actions. Furthermore, I understand that it's punishable by law in some parts of the world, and I agree that that is wrong, as murder is in all its forms.

At the same time, though, I take issue with a superceding international government meddling with other nations' affairs. The U.N. includes more than 50 Islamic nations, some of whom said said at the time that protecting sexual orientation could lead to "the social normalization and possibly the legalization of deplorable acts" such as pedophilia and incest. The declaration was also opposed by the Vatican. Those nations should have the right to vote their conscience.

I swear, I'm growing more and more libertarian by the day! I like former agriculture secretary (and LDS leader) Ezra Taft Benson's view on the proper role of government: we can only invest the government with rights that we ourselves hold on an individual level. I don't have the right to compel my neighbor to be pro-gay or anti-gay, regardless of my views (and I only use the gay rights issue as an example - it's a universal principle). We have the basic rights with life and liberty that prevent that neighbor from encroaching on another's life and liberty - but too many of the things we hear called "rights" are not, in fact, the inalienable rights endowed to us by our Creator.

(And I'm not anti-gay, in case that wasn't clear.)


The U.S. official who spoke anonymously in the article said, "In the words of the United States Supreme Court, the right to be free from criminalization on the basis of sexual orientation 'has been accepted as an integral part of human freedom."

That attitude is what worries me the most in this whole thing. I don't disagree with the "free from criminalization" aspect, but since when is sexual orientation integrally part of human freedom? Oh, how I worry for my country and my world. We are so wrapped up in the sensual and the now that we have no regard for restraint and consequences. Unbridled sexual liberation dulls and weakens us, because it gives a physical realm to the concept of reckless indulgence, not to mention messing with some serious emotional and spiritual powers. That is just not a path you want to tread, but sadly, it's soooo the norm in our society today.

Well, not for everybody at least. There are still some of us who will stand up for virtue to the end - I may be only one, but I am one. And I know I'm not alone.


Anonymous said...

great post christa.

daniel said...

You are certainly not alone in your concern for the nation and the world.

Anonymous said...


Liberty Belle said...

Woot Christa Jeanne!