US Refuses to Ratify International Call to Decriminalize Homosexuality

| Fri Dec. 19, 2008 10:44 AM EST

This administration (1) doesn't know how to play well with others, and (2) continues to makes a pathetic mockery of its own principles. We're a country that launched a preemptive war, in part, to spread freedom. And yet, this:

Alone among major Western nations, the United States has refused to sign a declaration presented Thursday at the United Nations calling for worldwide decriminalization of homosexuality.
In all, 66 of the U.N.'s 192 member countries signed the nonbinding declaration — which backers called a historic step to push the General Assembly to deal more forthrightly with any-gay discrimination. More than 70 U.N. members outlaw homosexuality, and in several of them homosexual acts can be punished by execution.
Co-sponsored by France and the Netherlands, the declaration was signed by all 27 European Union members, as well as Japan, Australia, Mexico and three dozen other countries. There was broad opposition from Muslim nations....

So why were we the only Western nation to opt out?

According to some of the declaration's backers, U.S. officials expressed concern in private talks that some parts of the declaration might be problematic in committing the federal government on matters that fall under state jurisdiction. In numerous 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.

Sure. Why would we sign an internationally supported declaration in favor of human rights? It would keep local landlords and private employers from discriminating. We can't have that!

Get Mother Jones by Email - Free. Like what you're reading? Get the best of MoJo three times a week.