At least 13 countries punish homosexuality with death — most of them Middle Eastern — so the United Nations (U.N.) Human Rights Council voted on a resolution to condemn killing gay people, and guess who voted against it. That’s right — the United States of America, along with 12 other countries. We joined Botswana, Burundi, Egypt, Ethiopia, Bangladesh, China, India, Iraq, Japan, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates in opposing the U.N. resolution. Thankfully, it still passed with a vote of 27 to 13, but what the hell is going on with America’s vote?
Understanding the U.N. Resolution
The actual resolution condemned discriminatory and arbitrary use of the death penalty for “offenses” like blasphemy, adultery and consensual same-sex relations. The resolution also sought to ensure that the death penalty is not “applied against persons with mental or intellectual disabilities and persons below 18 years of age at the time of the commission of the crime, as well as pregnant women.”
The United States joined China, Egypt, India, Japan and a handful of other Middle Eastern countries in voting against the resolution, and the U.S. has not yet explained its vote. It could be a cheap concession meant to keep friendly relations between the U.S. and countries with the anti-gay death penalty, but U.S. President Donald Trump has never really cared about appeasing countries like Iran, Afghanistan and Brunei.
The U.S. vote on the U.N. resolution could be a way of appeasing Christian voters
It could also be a bit of red meat for the anti-gay evangelical voters who form Trump’s base. Approximately 81% of evangelical voters supported Trump in the last election. Also, considering that Trump has surrounded himself with the most anti-LGBTQ cabinet of all time, it’s not entirely surprising that his current United States Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley would vote this way.
In fact, Trump has outright sucked when it comes to LGBTQ rights in general. First, he rolled back protections for transgender students to use the bathroom matching their gender identity. Then he banned all transgender people from the military, then his Department of Justice issued amicus briefs supporting anti-gay discrimination in public businesses and workplaces.
Considering how bad his administration has been for LGBTQ rights domestically, it’s hardly surprising that it has been bad for LGBTQ right around the globe.