The U.S. Declined to Condemn Countries That Execute People For Being Gay

If you assume that the United States stands in opposition to countries using the death penalty against LGBTQ people whose only “crime” is their sexuality, you may need to adjust your expectations.

This past Friday, the United Nations passed a resolution condemning nations that apply the death penalty in a “discriminatory manner,” particularly against gay people, women and the disabled. Although it seemed like a fairly straightforward and decent stance to take, the U.S. voted “no” on this human right’s issue.

Nations in Europe, North America and South America almost uniformly approved the position. The only other country in the west aside from the U.S. that didn’t vote in favor of the resolution was Cuba, which opted to abstain from the vote.

In voting no, the United States joined countries like Saudi Arabia and Iraq that, to this day, actively execute LGBTQ people. (Other countries that are known to do this – Iran, Sudan and Yemen – were not part of the vote.) Some countries like Qatar and the United Arab Emirates, which still have laws that allow gay people to be punished by death on the books but don’t actually do it in practice, also voted no.

While the U.S. certainly has a long way to go toward fully accepting and promoting equality for LGBTQ citizens within its own borders, it still seems ludicrous to think that this country can’t take the obvious viewpoint that people don’t deserve to die because of their sexuality.

Thus far, U.S. UN Ambassador Nikki Haley and the Trump administration have given no comment as to why they voted the way they did. PinkNews speculates that the vote has less to do with a complete disregard for the lives of homosexuals and more to do with the U.S.’s unflagging support of the death penalty in general. The U.S., past administrations included, has routinely voted against other UN resolutions that condemn capital punishment for pretty much any reason.

While the resolution primarily focuses on avoiding discrimination when using the death penalty, it also includes a part that urges nations to “consider” abolishing the death penalty altogether. That line may have been a deal-breaker for the U.S.

Still, if you think it’s more important to stand up for a nation’s right to kill people in general rather than to defend helpless people who are being targeted because of their sexual preference, the moral compass on American leadership is lacking.

What crime have these LGBT victims of their nations’ death penalty committed exactly? It’s hardly a complicated position to say that while the U.S. 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 terrible one) and as such condemns countries that kill their LGBT citizens. Yet it’s easier for the U.S. to avoid criticizing any country’s use of the death penalty than acknowledging its own fascination could also be flawed.

Another theory that Paste Magazine floats is that the U.S. was standing in solidarity with its Middle East “BFF” Saudi Arabia. Because Saudi Arabia is one of the countries that still practice LGBT executions (police there literally tortured two transgender people to death earlier this year,) this could be the U.S.’s way of not making waves with a primary ally.

The good news is that the UN didn’t need the U.S.’s vote: the resolution passed 27-13 (with seven abstentions) anyway. It’s no secret that the current administration has some terrible takes when it comes to human rights issues – this vote will be yet another example of the Trump White House failing to stand up for what’s just.

Even if the U.S. government’s objections is based solely on a love for the death penalty more than a distaste for gay people, perhaps it’s time for the U.S. to reexamine the company it keeps. At this point, it’s mainly the socially regressive and repressive countries that have kept capital punishment on the books. Is that something the U.S. wants to associate with?

Photo credit: Thinkstock

74 comments

Gina Denholm
Gina Denholmyesterday

Trump is a polite word for FART. I am not polite!!! Say no more......

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Ellie M
Ellie M2 days ago

ty

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Elaine W
Elaine W5 days ago

Outrageous and disgusting. Excuse to murder innocent people.

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Lindi Smith
Lindi S6 days ago

Unreal!

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Veronica Danie
Veronica D7 days ago

Thank you so very much.

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Veronica Danie
Veronica D7 days ago

Thank you so very much.

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Veronica Danie
Veronica D7 days ago

Thank you so very much.

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Karen H
Karen H8 days ago

Trump has vowed to support Judeo-Christian beliefs, and we know what the Bible says - offend God and be put to death. Trump lied when he said he was a friend to LGBT. He has denied us rights and given permission for "deeply religious" (read that as "bigoted, hateful homophobic") people to discriminate against us. How long will it be before he decides on more stringent (read that as "effective") measures to "control" the LGBT "menace". Either we stand together or we fall separately as he destroys our country.

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Deborah W
Deborah W10 days ago

No right to condemn other countries when we can't even get our own shit together.

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Elaine W
Elaine W11 days ago

I am ashamed of this ignorance. Unacceptable with no excuse for barbarism.

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