President Trump and his administration just voted against a United Nations ban on the death penalty for being gay, making the United States of America (it’s hard to think this is actually really happening) just one of 13 other countries in the world to oppose such a historic vote.
A few other notable countries who voted against the ban were China, Iraq and Saudi Arabia, and Egypt.
The resolution wasn’t sought to ban the death penalty entirely, but instead to keep it from being imposed in a ‘discriminatory manner,’ particularly in six countries where the death penalty is used for people known to be in same-sex relationships: Iran, Saudi Arabia, Sudan, Yemen, Nigeria, and Somalia.
While some are saying that a ‘no’ vote might imply a rejection of the death penalty in general, The Human Rights Council resolution specifically stated that it condemned the “imposition of the death penalty as a sanction for specific forms of conduct, such as apostasy, blasphemy, adultery and consensual same-sex relations.”
To have a ‘no’ vote puts the United States in a very select group of countries. Not exactly the best group to be in agreement with on an issue like this.
Renato Sabbadini, the executive director of The International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association, said:
“It is unconscionable to think that there are hundreds of millions of people living in states where somebody may be executed simply because of whom they love.”
“This is a monumental moment where the international community has publicly highlighted that these horrific laws simply must end.”
Since taking office, Trump has made a number of political appointments and policy moves against the LGBT community, including:
- Having The Department of Justice and Department of Education rescind guidance that defended the rights of transgender students to safety use bathrooms at schools that correspond to their gender identity.
- Saying publicly that transgenders could no longer serve in the military, and then issuing a directive to the Department of Defense to implement such an order.
- Signing an executive order in March that rescinded an Obama-era rule that companies have to prove they treat LGBT employees fairly.
Fortunately, the measure passed with 27 countries voting for it, but it still sends a chilling message about a new United States agenda on human rights.