U.S. votes with Iran, Cuba, Sudan and Zimbabwe against two gay groups at United Nations
"Apparently Iran, which President Bush has deemed part of the 'Axis of Evil,' is a suitable partner when it comes to discriminating against gay people."— Matt Foreman, executive director, National Gay and Lesbian Task Force
WASHINGTON, Jan. 23, 2006 — The National Gay and Lesbian Task Force today denounced the United States' vote against two gay rights organizations' applications to join the United Nations Economic and Social Council. The United States joined the repressive, anti-gay regimes of Iran, Zimbabwe, China, Cameroon and others in voting against even granting a hearing to the application of the International Lesbian and Gay Association (ILGA) and the Danish Association of Gays and Lesbians (Landsforeningen for Bosser og Lesbiske — LBL). Instead, the two groups' applications were summarily dismissed without a hearing.
"It is an absolute outrage that the United States has chosen to align itself with tyrants — all in a sickening effort to smother the voices of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people around the world," said Matt Foreman, executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force. "Apparently Iran, which President Bush has deemed part of the 'Axis of Evil,' is a suitable partner when it comes to discriminating against gay people."
The governments of Iran and Zimbabwe are among the most repressive anti-gay regimes in the world. President Mugabe of Zimbabwe has long scapegoated and persecuted gay men and lesbians. The recently-elected president of Iran, Mahmoud Ahmadinejad, has overseen an anti-gay campaign in recent months, in which many young people accused of homosexual acts have been executed. Also leading the charge against the application of the two gay groups was Egypt, which has persecuted gay men in recent years.
"The Task Force thanks the International Lesbian and Gay Association, the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission and Human Rights Watch for their efforts to promote pro-gay policies at the United Nations," Foreman said. "It is repugnant that the self-proclaimed 'leader of the free world' will align itself with bigots and tyrants at the drop of a hat to advance the right wing's virulently anti-gay agenda."
The Bush-Cheney administration has also opposed women's and children's rights treaties, sex education, contraception and family planning in international forums.
Today's vote to summarily dismiss the applications of ILGA and LBL was as follows, according to ILGA: Yes: Cameroon, China, Cuba, Iran, Pakistan, Russian Federation, Senegal, Sudan, United States of America, Zimbabwe No: Chile, France, Germany, Peru, Romania; Abstention: Colombia, India, Turkey Not present: Ivory Coast.
Three years ago, the United States abstained from voting on a sexual orientation nondiscrimination resolution offered by Brazil via the U.N. Human Rights Commission.