Today, HRC reacted to the Trump administration for voting against a United Nations resolution that included a provision condemning the death penalty as a punishment for consensual same-sex relationships.
“Ambassador Haley has failed the LGBTQ community by not standing up against the barbaric use of the death penalty to punish individuals in same-sex relationships,” said Ty Cobb, director of HRC Global. “While the U.N. Human Rights Council took this crucially important step, the Trump/Pence administration failed to show leadership on the world stage by not championing this critical measure. This administration's blatant disregard for human rights and LGBTQ lives around the world is beyond disgraceful.”
According to Forbes, 27 nations voted in favor of the resolution, 13 voted against it, and 7 abstained.
Updated October 3, 10:20 p.m. EST
Today, the Administration faced a firestorm of criticism from HRC and others, including former U.S. UN ambassador Susan Rice.
Shame on US! I was proud to lead U.S. efforts at UN to protect LGBTQ people, back in the day when America stood for human rights for all ���� https://t.co/3Y403bP7Wh— Susan Rice (@AmbassadorRice) October 3, 2017
In response, a White House spokesperson sought to clarify the U.S. position on the vote.
According to the Washington Blade, the spokesperson said, “The United States unequivocally condemns the application of the death penalty for homosexuality, blasphemy, adultery and apostasy. As in years past, we voted against this resolution because of broader concerns with the resolution’s approach to condemning the death penalty in all circumstances.”
HRC welcomes this clarification but continues to be concerned about the Trump/Pence administration’s engagement on the human rights of LGBTQ people abroad. It is disturbing that leadership in this administration did not discuss this position in their original explanation for the “no” vote.
On September 29, the UNHRC passed a landmark resolution that for the first time in its history condemned the use of the death penalty as a punishment for “consensual same-sex relations.” The UNHRC has passed numerous resolutions in the past broadly condemning the use of the death penalty and calling for its abolition, but this was the first time in its history that the resolution included language regarding same-sex relations.
The vote on the resolution was 27 in favor of the resolution, 13 against, and 7 abstentions. The U.S. was among the votes against, primarily because of the continued use of capital punishment in the United States in certain cases. The U.S. has a long history of opposing this resolution on the death penalty, under both Democratic and Republican administrations. Following its vote on the resolution, the U.S. released a statement to explain the “no” vote which failed to condemn the the use of the death penalty against individuals engaged in same-sex relations.