U.S. pledges support for U.N. gender identity statement

State Department spokesman Robert Wood
State Department spokesman Robert Wood


The United States supports the U.N. Statement on “Human Rights, Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity,” a State Department spokesman said on Wednesday. Critics of the statement, including the leader of the Holy See’s mission to the U.N., have expressed concern it is ill-defined and overbroad and could pressure states to recognize same-sex “marriage.”

Robert Wood, Acting Spokesman at the U.S. Department of State, declared U.S. government support for the statement, saying the government “is pleased to join the other 66 U.N. member states who have declared their support.”

He said the statement “condemns human rights violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity wherever they occur.”

Calling the U.S. “an outspoken defender of human rights and critic of human rights abuses around the world,” he said the U.S. will “continue to remind countries of the importance of respecting the human rights of all people.”

Article 3 of the statement reads: “We reaffirm the principle of non-discrimination which requires that human rights apply equally to every human being regardless of sexual orientation or gender identity.”

Expressing “deep concern” about “violations of human rights and fundamental freedoms based on sexual orientation or gender identity,” the statement condemns “violence, harassment, discrimination, exclusion, stigmatization and prejudice” directed against persons “because of sexual orientation or gender identity.”

The statement’s Article 8 encourages the Human Rights Council and treaty bodies to “continue to integrate consideration of human rights violations based on sexual orientation or gender identity within their relevant mandates.”

Last year Archbishop Celestino Migliore, head of the Holy See’s permanent observer mission to the United Nations, argued that the statement would “add new categories of those protected from discrimination” and could lead to reverse discrimination against those who believe in traditional marriage.

"If adopted, they would create new and implacable discriminations," Archbishop Migliore said. "For example, states which do not recognize same-sex unions as 'matrimony' will be pilloried and made an object of pressure.”

The archbishop also noted that the Catechism of the Catholic Church forbids “unjust discrimination.”

Homosexual activists seized on the clergyman’s opposition, some trying to claim the Vatican supported capital punishment for homosexuals.

This past December, Archbishop Migliore made additional criticisms of the statement, saying the wording of the declaration goes “well beyond” condemnations of violence against homosexuals and of criminal penalties against them.

He said the document’s categories of "sexual orientation" and "gender identity," under international law, "find no recognition or clear and agreed definition." This “gives rise to uncertainty in the law and challenges existing human rights norms."

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