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    July 27, 2007

    Human rights make good bedfellows

    Posted by: Chris

    Un_logo You may have seen the news last week that the United Nations Economic & Social Council, better known as ECOSOC finally granted observer status to two gay organizations: the Coalition Gaie et Lesbienne du Quebec (CGLQ) and the Swedish Federation for Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender Rights (RFSL).

    The two biggest international gay groups — the International Gay & Lesbian Human Rights Commission (IGLHRC) and the International Lesbian & Gay Association (ILGA) — have led an effort for years to push for observer status, which simply allows these gay groups, alongside hundreds of other non-governmental organizations (NGOs) the right to listen and participate in discussions of human rights and public health, among other topics.

    Opposition has come from an unusual anti-gay alliance of U.S.-based conservative Christian groups and hardline Muslim countries — proving once again that Andrew Sullivan is right that Christianists are often just Islamists in a less extreme form.

    These unlikely allies combined to tell what they knew was a lie: that the gay groups seeking observer status had ties to pedophilia. More than a decade ago, ILGA allowed the North American Man-Boy Love Association (NAMBLA) as a member organization because the group's bylaws included no way to exclude them. That extraordinarily stupid decision was reversed in the '90s but still forms the basis for the gay-pedophilia smear. But this time, thanks to strong support from the Canadian delegation, the tired ploy didn't work.

    The final tally at ECOSOC was 22 for recognition, 13 against, 13 abstaining and 6 absent. Just look at how the votes stacked up:

    FOR: United States, United Kingdom, Albania, Austria, Bolivia, Brazil, Canada, Czech Republic, Denmark, France, Germany, Greece, Guinea-Bissau, Iceland, Japan, Lithuania, Luxembourg, Mexico, Netherlands, New Zealand, Portugal, Romania

    AGAINST: Algeria, Belarus, Benin, China, Guinea, Indonesia, Iraq, Pakistan, Russian Federation, Saudi Arabia, Somalia, Sri Lanka, Sudan

    Doesn't that list just about say it all? There it is, in stark form, just how gay civil rights fit into the broader framework of human rights. Personally, I strongly prefer our bedfellows.

    For a complete summary of news stories on treatment of gay groups at the United Nations, click here.



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