Amid intense debate on ‘gay’ rights in state and local governments throughout the U.S., the U.N. Commission on Human Rights is preparing to vote on a resolution calling on all countries “to promote and protect the human rights of all persons regardless of their sexual orientation.”
The resolution is “a historic opportunity to advance [homosexual] issues in international human-rights law,” said the San Francisco-based International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission, or IGLHRC.
U.N. Human Rights Commission meeting
A vote on the measure, sponsored by Brazil, is expected today before the 53-member commission, which is chaired this year by Libya.
Pakistan distributed a memo to commission members on behalf of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, which stated the “resolution directly contradicts the tenets of Islam and other religions,” and its approval would be “a direct insult to the 1.2 billion Muslims around the world.”
An official at the session yesterday said the discussion has been difficult and heated “because of the quite delicate subject matter and the fact that this has never been discussed before,” according to the Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute in New York City.
But noted activist Phyllis Schlafly, founder of the Eagle Forum, dismisses the commission’s legitimacy altogether.
“We don’t need to get a moral instruction from Libya and Brazil,” she told WorldNetDaily. “It’s another reason for us to get out of the U.N.”
The IGLHRC said the resolution has the support of Canada, New Zealand and several European Union countries. The homosexual-rights group has urged its backers to lobby five key countries to put the vote over the top: Argentina, Australia, India, South Africa and the United States.
The group provided a model letter for supporters to write to their respective government representatives. The letter says by approving the resolution “we will be positioning ourselves among those who are true to those values that form the core of international human rights legislation: dignity and justice for all human beings, without discrimination whatsoever.”
Some opponents contend, however, the remedy proposed by the resolution will have worse societal implications than the alleged disease, “homophobia.”
“It is highly likely that gay-rights advocates will use this resolution, if it passes, to advance their agenda to legalize gay marriage and to create hate-crimes legislation,” contends A. Scott Loveless, associate professor of law at the World Family Policy Center at Brigham Young University.
“In their quest to legitimize homosexuality, many of these countries have actually limited some of our most fundamental freedoms, including freedom of speech,” Loveless said, according to a news release by the Catholic group.
In Canada, provincial human-rights commissions already have penalized people for discrimination based on sexual orientation. A court in Saskatchewan recently upheld a 2001 ruling that fined a man for submitting a newspaper ad containing citations of four Bible verses that address homosexuality. Two years ago, the Ontario Human Rights Commission penalized printer Scott Brockie $5,000 for refusing to print letterhead for a homosexual advocacy group. Brockie argued that his Christian beliefs compelled him to reject the group’s request.
This week, Peoria, Ill., traditionally seen as America’s bellwether town, joined a growing list of Illinois cities banning discrimination based on sexual orientation. The city council voted 8-3 Tuesday to amend its human-rights ordinance to protect homosexuals against discrimination in employment, housing and public accommodations. Similar ordinances have been adopted in Bloomington, Champaign, Decatur, Normal and Springfield.
In North Carolina on Wednesday, the House State Government Committee took up a bill that would outlaw discrimination in state government employment based on sexual orientation.
On Monday, the California state Assembly approved a bill outlawing discrimination against job applicants and renters based on their “perceived gender.” The measure would broaden California’s housing and employment laws to cover transsexuals, transvestites and others who do not fit traditional male or female “stereotypes.”
Jane Adolphe (photo: Ave Maria School of Law)
Jane Adolphe, assistant professor of law at Ave Maria School of Law in Ann Arbor, Mich., believes the proposed U.N. resolution “opens the door for further attacks” on the Catholic Church.
“Individuals could presumably use this discrimination language to bring complaints against the church with regard to hiring, employment, even the doctrines of the church itself,” she said.
‘Changing attitudes and behavior ‘
The draft resolution presented by Brazil, titled, “Human Rights and Sexual Orientation,” begins by appealing to a number of international human rights conventions. It concludes with:
“Reaffirming that the Universal Declaration of Human Rights affirms the principle of the inadmissibility of discrimination and proclaims that all human beings are born free and equal in dignity and rights and that everyone is entitled to all the rights and freedoms set forth therein without distinction of any kind,
“Affirming that human rights education is a key to changing attitudes and behavior and to promoting respect for diversity in societies, [the Human Rights Commission],
“1. Expresses deep concern at the occurrence of violations of human rights in the world against persons on the grounds of their sexual orientation;
“2. Stresses that human rights and fundamental freedoms are the birthright of all human beings, that the universal nature of these rights and freedoms is beyond question and that the enjoyment of such rights and freedoms should not be hindered in any way on the grounds of sexual orientation;
“3. Calls upon all States to promote and protect the human rights of all persons regardless of their sexual orientation;
“4. Notes the attention given to human rights violations on the grounds of sexual orientation by the special procedures in their reports to the Commission on Human Rights, as well as by the treaty monitoring bodies, and encourages all special procedures of the Commission, within their mandates, to give due attention to the subject;
“5. Requests the United Nations High Commissioner for Human Rights to pay due attention to the violation of human rights on the grounds of sexual orientation;
“6. Decides to continue consideration of the matter at its sixtieth session under the same agenda item.”
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