Last month a coalition of Arabic and African nations succeeded in removing a reference to sexual orientation in a United Nations resolution condemning the unjustified executions of minority groups. Today at the urging of the United States, that reference was restored by a vote 93-55, with 27 abstentions.
Boris Dittrich, director of the gay rights program at Human Rights Watch, said he was “relieved” by the vote. “The resolution does justice to gays, lesbians and transgender people in countries where they are targeted for assaults and killings,” Dittrich said. “Hate crimes on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity must be countered just like hate crimes on the basis of race or religion.” Mark Bromley, of the Washington-based Council for Global Equality, called the vote “an important victory.” Rights groups worked ahead of the vote to lobby countries that had abstained earlier in hopes of getting them to approve a U.S.-sponsored amendment to restore the words “sexual orientation.” Colombia and South Africa were among the countries they persuaded to approve the amendment.
I find it curious that South Africa, a country with legalized same-sex marriage, was one of the holdouts in the first vote.