WASHINGTON - The Human Rights Campaign Foundation, the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender civil rights organization, along with faith program directors from the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation and National Black Justice Coalition today issued a joint protest over the Vatican's recent decision to oppose an initiative to decriminalize homosexuality. Advocates are pushing the U.S. State Department to support the initiative and urging media to cover this life and death concern.
The following joint statement was issued on United Nations Human Rights Day and the 60th anniversary of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights:
"For far too long people around the world have been ostracized, imprisoned, tortured and denied basic rights to housing, health care and employment simply because they are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender (LGBT). In more than 70 countries people can be imprisoned for homosexuality and in several countries same gender love is a crime punishable by death.
"This is why the French government, backed by 27 European Union nations, put forward a proposal, on Human Rights Day to recognize that LGBT rights are human rights and to decriminalize homosexuality. Such a statement simply affirms the most basic of rights for LGBT people: that they be allowed to live in dignity and safety. As faith leaders who work every day with LGBT people who feel the stigma of discrimination, this UN initiative speaks to our core belief that we show our love for God when we care for our neighbors, particularly those who are shunned and marginalized.
"As faith leaders we were shocked by Vatican opposition to this proposed initiative. By refusing to sign a basic statement opposing inhumane treatment of LGBT people, the Vatican is sending a message that violence and human rights abuses against LGBT people are acceptable. Most Catholics, and indeed most Catholic teachings, tell us that all people are entitled to live with basic human dignity without the threat of violence. The Catholics we know believe that Scripture asks us to be our brother and our sister's keeper. Many are speaking out against this immoral stance in the name of religion.
"Compounding the Vatican's opposition is the inaction to date of the government of the United States. As faith leaders and citizens of the United States, we call on the U.S. government to join the 50 countries throughout the world that have officially supported this U.N. proposal. We urge U.S. leaders to stand against discrimination. It is time to let the teachings of the world's great religions guide us toward justice rather that encouraging prejudice, fear and violence. It is time for the U.S. to stand as a moral leader for LGBT people and to help create a more just world for all of us."
Harry Knox, Director
Religion and Faith Program
Human Rights Campaign Foundation
The Rev. Rebecca Voelkel, Director
Institute for Welcoming Resources and Faith Work
National Gay and Lesbian Task Force
Dr. Sylvia Rhue, Director
National Black Justice Coalition
Ann Craig, Director
Religion, Faith & Values Program
The Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD)
The Human Rights Campaign Foundation is America's largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against LGBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.
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