Yesterday, the internet reeled at the fact that the United States voted against a United Nations resolution condemning “discriminatory and arbitrary” use of the death penalty for “offenses” like blasphemy, adultery and consensual same-sex relations.
Responding to the outcry, U.S. State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert called the reports and headlines focusing on the vote’s anti-gay stance “misleading,” then said:
The United States is disappointed to have voted against that resolution. We voted against that resolution because of broader concerns with the resolution’s approach in condemning the death penalty in all circumstances, and it called for the abolition of the death penalty altogether. We had hoped for a balanced and inclusive resolution that would better reflect the positions of states that continue to apply the death penalty lawfully as the United States does. The United States unequivocally condemns the application of the death penalty for conduct such as homosexuality, adultery, blasphemy and apostasy. We do not consider such conduct appropriate for criminalization.
— Department of State (@StateDept) October 3, 2017
Indeed, the resolution itself denounced the use of the death penalty altogether, for any purposes, noting that it was often applied unequally throughout society.
Of the 195 countries that currently exist in the world, the U.S. is one of 58 that still uses the death penalty — we rank fifth in the number of people executed worldwide.
As such, as Buzzfeed explained yesterday, America’s U.N. vote was less a reflection of the Trump Administration’s horrid stance on LGBTQ issues and more a reflection of how much America really loves the death penalty. “The U.S. has never supported any measure at the U.N. that condemns the death penalty,” wrote Buzzfeed reporter Hayes Brown.
Brown goes on to explain, “The resolution likely would not have seen a different vote from the UN under previous administrations. Though it lacked the portion highlighting LGBT rights, in 2014 the Obama administration abstained on a resolution at the Human Rights Council.”
Studies have shown that America’s death penalty falls predominantly on black, Latinos and other Americans of color, costs more than life imprisonment or other punishments and does little to deter crime.
Featured image by seechung via iStock