Resolution of the UN Faith Coalition for LGBT Human Rights

By Eric Cherry

At a meeting organized by the UU United Nations Office and partner organizations on Monday, December 13, 2010 the following Resolution was agreed upon:
Resolution of the UN Faith Coalition for LGBT Human Rights Resolved, this 13th Day of December, 2010, that the UN Faith Coalition for LGBT Human Rights Fully affirms and supports the proposed action by Susan Rice, U.S. Ambassador of the United States to the United Nations to amend the resolution by the Third Committee on Extrajudicial, Summary and Arbitrary Executions, said resolution excluding protection of people who are vulnerable due to sexual orientation. Susan Rice, the U.S. Ambassador of the United States to the United Nations has publicly stated her intention to propose an amendment to the Resolution by the Third Committee on or before December 20 to the General Assembly, said amendment to prohibit the violent targeting and extrajudicial killing of people who are vulnerable because of their sexual orientation. We note that the Third Committee’s Resolution that removes protection for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people was largely supported by countries with more damaging records on human rights. While we understand and respect that there will always be differences in understanding of human sexuality within society, we unequivocally assert that laws that criminalize people for sexual orientation do not just violate human rights. They hinder social cohesion, economic development and public health. They diminish trust and cooperation among nations, among communities, among families and co-workers. Trust is fundamental to progress in all human endeavors. Be It Further Resolved that the UN LGBT Faith Community supports the member nations of the United Nation who determine to vote affirmatively to include sexual orientation and respectfully call for those members who cannot vote affirmatively to abstain. Be It Further Resolved, that we call for the United States of America to work with its fellow Core Group Members of the United Nations to urge countries that still have laws criminalizing the lives of gay people to repeal them and to develop a sustained and serious plan of action to decriminalize homosexuality around the world. In recent years, our consciences have been seared by the horrors of genocide and today we are challenged again by that possibility when protections are publicly removed from a specific class of people. We are reminded of our shared responsibility for the international community’s failure to act in the face of genocide in the 20th century. Our new century can and must be better than the last—more deeply rooted in humane values, more committed to universal rights. We call for a model similar to that of the Responsibility to Protect for the lives of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people. The Responsibility to Protect (R2P) represents an important step forward in the long historical struggle to save lives and guard the wellbeing of people endangered by conflict. Its holds that states have the responsibilities as well as interests and duty to shield their own populations from murder. This approach is bold and important. All 192 UN member states adopted the Responsibility to Protect at the world summit in 2005; the Security Council reaffirmed the commitment and the related principle of protection in Resolution 1674. The Responsibility to Protect is rooted in the principle that states have a fundamental responsibility to protect their populations from such atrocities as genocide, war crimes, crimes against humanity and ethnic cleaning. It holds that other states, in turn have a corollary responsibility to assist if a state cannot meet its fundamental responsibility to its citizens or to take collective action if a state will not meet that fundamental responsibility. A model of Responsibility to Protect people who are made vulnerable due to sexual orientation or gender expression suggests that homophobia and stigmatization lead to exclusion and violence and, as noted in the Resolution by the Third Committee, the willingness to offer up the lives of people to murder. We should not wait for genocide, war crimes, and crimes against humanity or ethnic cleansing before we act. The decision to use mere differences among groups as a license for atrocity or a path to power is precisely that: a craven decision, one consciously made by those without regard for the dignity and worth of all persons. Humanitarian requirements will often jostle with other legitimate policy concerns and these priorities sometimes compete and even where they do not, even where our values and interests fall neatly in step together, the answers are not always obvious. We must build up the institutions that make a society resilient in the hour of crisis; including communities, churches, mosques, synagogues, temples, schools, independent media and strong civil society organizations. We call for early warning, analysis and decision making. We call for preventative diplomacy and internal mediation. We call for strengthening the United States engagement in the internal human rights architecture and specific intervention in Uganda where a proposal is being advanced that would impose the death penalty for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and imprisonment for those who are their allies.

About the Author

Eric Cherry

Eric was the Director of the UUA’s International Office since August 2007. Prior to this Eric served for 12 years as a parish minister with UU congregations in Burlington, Iowa and N. Easton, Massachusetts. Eric has long been involved in the UU Partner Church movement, serving as the English...


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