Sixty-six of the 192 United Nations member countries signed a nonbinding declaration to decriminalize homosexuality. It was the first time that the issue of gay and lesbian rights has been considered by the U.N. General Assembly.
Another 60 nations supported a rival statement introduced by Syria.
The U.S. refused to sign the declaration — the only major Western nation to do so. Spokespeople expressed concern about confusing federal and state jurisdiction on laws relating to sexual orientation.
Armenian blogger “Artmika” calls his country’s support of the decriminalization declaration “historic,” writing that it is the first time Armenia has set such an example.
Michael Jones of the “Gay Rights” blog writes that the U.S. should show leadership on the issue, although the fact that the resolution is nonbinding limits its importance.
France did not have sufficient support for an official resolution, so instead put forth the nonbinding declaration (co-sponsored by the Netherlands). All 27 European Union members supported the decriminalization declaration.
Kate Sheill of Amnesty International writes that even Syria’s statement of rejection, which “deplore[d] all forms of stereotyping” while arguing that domestic laws should be followed, reflected a greater degree of non-discrimination than has previously been seen.
The “Leaning Straight Up” blog writes that media reports unfairly single out Muslim opposition to the declaration.