U.S. Supports U.N. Declaration on Homosexuality

The Obama administration announced this week its endorsement of the U.N. declaration decriminalizing homosexuality, a move former President George W. Bush had rejected.

State Department spokesman Robert Wood said Wednesday that the United States supports the U.N.'s statements on human rights, sexual orientation, and gender identity, according to Agence France-Presse.

"The United States is an outspoken defender of human rights and critic of human rights abuses around the world," Wood told reporters.

"As such, we join with other supporters of this statement, and we will continue to remind countries of the importance of respecting the human rights of all people in all appropriate international fora," he said.

The United States will join 66 other countries, including all the members of the European Union, in backing the U.N. statement. Other countries who have signed the document include Japan, Australia, Mexico, and dozens of other countries.

Previously, Bush had refused to sign the declaration explaining that he feared it would infringe upon the rights of states. Some states, for instance, allow landlords and certain employers to discriminate based on sexual orientation, according to The Associated Press.

However, Wood assured that the document would not impose any legal changes in the United States.

But World Congress of Families is concerned that the measure will pressure member states to recognize gay marriage and other special rights.

"Violence and harassment in all forms should be condemned, but this special rights measure is not needed by the United Nations," said Larry Jacobs, managing director of World Congress of Families, in a statement Friday.

"The Universal Declaration of Human Rights (1948) has already been signed by the nations of the world and is supposed to be used by the UN to protect the rights of all persons from conception to natural death. Will this special rights measure be used to push for homosexuals serving openly in the U.S. military?" Jacobs inquired. "Will it be interpreted as a mandate for gay adoption?"

Jacobs noted that the Vatican is also concerned about how the statements would be interpreted.

Under Bush, the United States was the only western country to not sign the declaration in December when it was presented at the U.N. General Assembly.

Among the U.N.'s 192 member countries, 70 of them outlaw homosexuality. Over 50 countries, including members of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, oppose the declaration.

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