Dignity Canada Dignité
Keep homosexuality illegal, says
pope Benedict: Vatican opposes a U.N. declaration calling for an end to the
practice of criminalizing and punishing people for their sexual orientation.
Vatican opposes decriminalization of homosexuality
By Philip Pullella,
Reuters.com Dec 2, 2008
VATICAN CITY (Reuters) - Gay rights groups and newspaper editorials on
Tuesday condemned the Vatican for its decision to oppose a proposed U.N.
resolution calling on governments worldwide to de-criminalize homosexuality.
believe that our pope, our church, with its belief in the sanctity of human
life, should be leading efforts to end this most egregious form of
oppression. Instead, our leader has chosen to stand with countries that
continue to name us as criminals,” said Marianne Duddy-Burke, executive
director of DignityUSA.
“For too long, there has been a terrible conflict between the official
Catholic church’s policies and pastoral practices as they relate to gay
people,” she said. “Despite the good work being done in so many parishes,
Vatican policies lead to our entire church being associated with
discrimination and anti-gay violence. It has sad, even tragic consequences
for lesbian and gay people and our families.”
are so disappointed that the leaders of the Catholic church would object to
protecting gay people from the often violent threats they face,” said Frank
DeBernardo, executive director of New Ways Ministry.
“Our organization is committed to creating dialogue among members of the
Catholic church and I know from experience that the statements of the
church’s leaders do not reflect the views of the majority of Catholics, who
favor protecting gay people from life-threatening violence,” he said.
The row erupted after the Vatican's permanent observer to the United Nations
told a French Catholic news agency the Holy See would oppose the resolution,
which France is due to propose later this month on behalf of the 27-member
Archbishop Celestino Migliore said the Vatican opposed the resolution because
it would "add new categories of those protected from discrimination" and could
lead to reverse discrimination against traditional heterosexual marriage.
"If adopted, they would create new and implacable discriminations," Migliore
said. "For example, states which do not recognize same-sex unions as 'matrimony'
will be pilloried and made an object of pressure," Migliore said.
A strongly worded editorial in Italy's mainstream La Stampa newspaper said
the Vatican's reasoning was "grotesque."
Pointing out that homosexuality was still punishable by death in some Islamic
countries, the editorial said what the Vatican really feared was a "chain
reaction in favor of legally recognized homosexual unions in countries, like
Italy, where there is currently no legislation."
Franco Grillini, founder and honorary president of Arcigay, Italy's leading
gay rights group, said the Vatican's reasoning smacked of "total idiocy and
"The French resolution, which is supported by all 27 members of the European
Union, has nothing to do with gay marriage. It is about stopping jail and the
death penalty for homosexuals," Grillini told Reuters.
FRANCE DEFENDS RESOLUTION
The resolution is to be presented by Rama Yade, France's state secretary for
human rights. On Tuesday the Paris government defended the resolution.
"France's initiative ... is an initiative that is based on existing texts.
The idea is not to create new rights. The idea is ... to make decriminalization
possible," French Foreign Ministry spokesman Eric Chevallier said.
Human rights groups say homosexuality is still punishable by law in more than
85 countries and by death in a number of them, including Afghanistan, Iran,
Saudi Arabia, Sudan and Yemen.
Members of Call to Action, New Ways Ministry
and DignityUSA rally in Chicago Dec. 10 to protest the Vatican’s opposition
to a proposed U.N. resolution that would decriminalize homosexuality.
Under President Bush, the USA also
opposed the measure... then later (see below) under President Obama,
U.S. shuns UN call to
By DAVID CRARY
December 19, 2008
UNITED NATIONS — Alone among major Western nations, the United States
has refused to sign a declaration presented Thursday at the United
Nations calling for worldwide decriminalization of homosexuality.
In all, 66 of the U.N.’s 192 member countries signed the nonbinding
declaration — which backers called a historic step to push the General
Assembly to deal more forthrightly with anti-gay discrimination. More
than 70 U.N. members outlaw homosexuality, and in several of them
homosexual acts can be punished by execution.
Co-sponsored by France and the Netherlands, the declaration was
signed by all 27 European Union members, as well as Japan, Australia,
Mexico and three dozen other countries. There was broad opposition from
Muslim nations, and the United States refused to sign, indicating that
some parts of the declaration raised legal questions that needed further
“It’s disappointing,” said Rama Yade, France’s human rights minister,
of the U.S. position — which she described as in contradiction with
America’s long tradition as a defender of human rights.
According to some of the declaration’s backers, U.S. officials
expressed concern in private talks that some parts of the declaration
might be problematic in committing the federal government on matters
that fall under state jurisdiction. In numerous states, landlords and
private employers are allowed to discriminate on the basis of sexual
orientation; on the federal level, gays are not allowed to serve openly
in the military.
Carolyn Vadino, a spokeswoman for the U.S. mission to the U.N.,
stressed that the United States — despite its unwillingness to sign —
condemned any human rights violations related to sexual orientation.
Gay rights activists nonetheless were angered by the U.S. position.
“It’s an appalling stance — to not join with other countries that are
standing up and calling for decriminalization of homosexuality,” said
Paula Ettelbrick, executive director of the International Gay and
Lesbian Human Rights Commission.
More than 50 countries opposed to the declaration, including members
of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, issued a joint statement
Thursday criticizing the initiative as an unwarranted attempt to give
special prominence to gays and lesbians. The statement suggested that
protecting sexual orientation could lead to “the social normalization
and possibly the legalization of deplorable acts” such as pedophilia and
The declaration also has been opposed by the Vatican, a stance which
prompted a protest in Rome earlier this month.
A Vatican spokesman, the Rev. Federico Lombardi, said the Roman
Catholic Church opposed the death penalty and other harsh repression of
gays and lesbians, but he expressed concern that the declaration would
be used as pressure against those who believe marriage rights should not
be extended to gays.
Although the declaration’s backers were pleased that nations on six
continents had signed it, there were only two from Asia and four from
Vatican spokesman Rev Federico Lombardi said "no one wants the death penalty
or jail or fines for homosexuals" but defended Migliore's comments, adding that
the Vatican was in the majority on the issue.
"It's not for nothing that fewer than 50 member states of the United Nations
have adhered to the proposal in question while more than 150 have not adhered.
The Holy See is not alone," Lombardi said.
An editorial in Rome's left-leaning La Repubblica newspaper said the
Vatican's position "leaves one dumbstruck." Margherita Boniver, a leading member
of the Italy's leftist Democratic Party, called it "alarmingly
Grillini, the gay rights activist, said he feared what he called another
"Holy Alliance" between the Vatican and Islamic states at the United Nations to
oppose the proposed resolution.
At a major U.N. conference on the family in Cairo in 1994, the Vatican teamed
up with Islamic and Latin American countries to defeat an abortion rights
The Catholic Church teaches that while homosexuality is not sinful,
homosexual acts are. But in October, a leading Vatican official called
homosexuality "a deviation, an irregularity and a wound."
The U.N. declaration does not in fact mention gay marriage,
and most of the nations that support it themselves don't allow people of the
same sex to wed.
The Italian gay rights association Arcigay says the
Vatican's opposition to the anti-discriminatory measure is "unprecedented," and
the citing of gay marriage is an "excuse" to distract people from the real
intent of criminalizing gays. One Rome-based priest was disappointed that the
Vatican decided to publicize its opposition to what appears a rather innocuous
declaration. "When you're always trying to look for new ways to make your point,
you lose credibility," says the priest. "Better sometimes to keep quiet."
Vatican: Gays aren't criminals, but must not have marriage rights
Vatican City December 11, 2008 -
Vatican's chief spokesman said that the Roman Catholic Church believes
homosexuality must not be considered a crime, but added that initiatives aimed
at "putting all forms of sexual orientation on the same level" are wrong.
Father Federico Lombardi was commenting on controversy triggered by the Holy
See's decision to oppose a proposal by France, backed by the 27-nation
European Union, for a United Nations resolution calling governments to
Lombardi said the Vatican opposed all forms of discrimination. But he added
that the proposal, if accepted, could end up making those, like the Catholic
Church, who oppose granting marriage rights to gays "guilty of infringing
"The Church is in favour of decriminalizing homosexuality," Lombardi said. But
it opposes granting "parity of rights," such as marriage. According to
Catholic teaching, only unions between a man and a woman can be accorded such
Last week, the Holy See's envoy to the UN, Archbishop Celestino Migliore,
described the French proposal as unacceptable. He argued it implied the
possibility that nations which did not recognize same-sex unions as
"matrimony" would face pressure to do so.
Gay rights groups in Italy and elsewhere have since staged demonstrations to
protest what they say is the Vatican's apparent willingness to ally itself
with those who treat gay people as criminals.
Homosexuality is currently punishable by law in more than 85 countries. It is
punishable by death in a number of them, including Afghanistan, Iran, Saudi
Arabia, Sudan and Yemen.
US endorses UN gay rights statement
Declaration, rejected by Bush
administration, aims to decriminalize homosexuality
WASHINGTON (AP) | Mar 18,2009 - The Obama administration on Wednesday formally
endorsed a U.N. declaration calling for the worldwide decriminalization of
homosexuality, a measure that former President George W. Bush had refused to
The move was the administration's latest in reversing Bush-era decisions that
have been heavily criticized by human rights and other groups. The United
States was the only western nation not to sign onto the declaration when it
came up at the U.N. General Assembly in December.
"The United States supports the U.N.'s statement on human rights, sexual
orientation and gender identity and is pleased to join the other 66 U.N.
member states who have declared their support of the statement," said State
Department spokesman Robert Wood.
"The United States is an outspoken defender of human rights and critic of
human rights abuses around the world," Wood told reporters. "As such, we join
with other supporters of this statement, and we will continue to remind
countries of the importance of respecting the human rights of all people in
all appropriate international fora."
The Associated Press reported on Tuesday that the administration would endorse
Gay rights and other groups had criticized the Bush administration when it
refused to sign the declaration when it was presented at the United Nations on
Dec. 19. U.S. officials said then that the U.S. opposed discrimination on the
basis of sexual orientation but that parts of the declaration raised legal
questions that needed further review.
According to negotiators, the Bush team had concerns that those sections could
commit the federal government on matters that fall under state jurisdiction.
In some states, landlords and private employers are allowed to discriminate on
the basis of sexual orientation; on the federal level, gays are not allowed to
serve openly in the military.
But Wood said a "careful interagency review" by the Obama administration had
concluded that "supporting this statement commits us to no legal obligations."
When it was voted on in December, 66 of the U.N.'s 192 member countries signed
the nonbinding declaration, which backers called an historic step to push the
General Assembly to deal more forthrightly with anti-gay discrimination. It
was endorsed by all 27 European Union members as well as Japan, Australia and
But 70 U.N. members outlaw homosexuality - and in several, homosexual acts can
be punished by execution. More than 50 nations, including members of the
Organization of the Islamic Conference, opposed the declaration.
Dignity Canada Dignité is Canada's
organization of Roman Catholics who are concerned about our church's sexual
theology, particularly as it pertains to gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgendered persons. We work in collaboration with other Catholic
organizations seeking reform in our church's leadership and teachings.