Friday
February 3, 2006
SGN.org
Volume 34
Issue 05
 
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Axis of Homophobia: U.S. supports Iran in U.N.
Axis of Homophobia: U.S. supports Iran in U.N.
by Malcolm Lazin - Executive Director, Equality Forum

Iran successfully introduced a measure in the United Nations to deny two European Gay and Lesbian organizations official consultative status. The U.S. joined Cuba, Zimbabwe, Pakistan and Sudan in voting to deny a voice to these civil rights associations.

At the direction of John Bolton, U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations, the U.S. voted to deny consultative status at the U.N. Economic and Social Council to the Danish National Association for Gays and Lesbians and the International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA). There are about 3,000 nongovernmental organizations that have consultative status, which officially provides participation in discussions with U.N. member states.

The Iranian measure to prevent Gay organizations a consultative voice is consistent with theocratic Islamic state policy. As the U.S. State Department reported in its 2004 Country Reports on Human Rights Practices, Iranian law punishes homosexual conduct with the death penalty. In July 2005, Iran executed for homosexuality two teenagers, one of whom was 16 years old.

According to Mark P. Lagon, Deputy Assistant Secretary of State, the vote did not stem from "being against Gay rights groups" but was based on an affiliation of ILGA with the North American Man/Boy Love Association. The State Department was aware that in 1994, the ILGA formally expelled the man/boy association. The U.S. voted to deny consultative status to the Danish National Association for Gays and Lesbians even though there was no such association.

Every major regional, state, national and international Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender organization condemns pedophilia and statistics support that homosexuals are no more likely to be pedophiles than heterosexual citizens.

The Administration is bi-polar. At a time when it is spending hundreds of billions of dollars and spilling blood to ensure minority rights for Sunnis and Kurds and democracy in the Middle East, the government simultaneously abridges minority rights for Gay and Lesbian Americans and precludes a voice for Gay and Lesbian civil rights organizations in the United Nations.

Congressman Tom Lantos (D-CA), Co-Chair of the Congressional Human Rights Caucus, called the vote ├Ča major setback├« for human rights diplomacy. The Administration policy is un-American and should be condemned by Congress.



The Equality Forum is a national nonprofit and 501(c)(3) GLBT organization headquartered in Philadelphia. Equality Forum undertakes high impact initiatives, produces documentary films, highlights GLBT history and presents annually the largest national and international GLBT civil rights forum.

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