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US rejects United Nations ban on death penalty for adultery, blasphemy, gay sex

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Posted at 10:03 AM, Oct 04, 2017
and last updated 2017-10-04 10:20:36-04

The United States joined countries like Iraq and Saudi Arabia on Tuesday to vote against a United Nations resolution that asks countries not to apply the death penalty "in a discriminatory manner."

The resolution specifically condemns using capital punishment in cases of homosexuality, adultery, apostasy and blasphemy, and America's rejection prompted quick criticism from gay rights advocates.

"(UN) Ambassador (Nikki) Haley has failed the LGBTQ community by not standing up against the barbaric use of the death penalty to punish individuals in same-sex relationships," said Ty Cobb, director of Human Rights Campaign Global. "This administration’s blatant disregard for human rights and LGBTQ lives around the world is beyond disgraceful."

Six countries currently use the death penalty to punish homosexual behavior, according to the International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association.

Despite the U.S. and 12 other countries voting against the resolution, the UN's 47-member Human Rights Council approved it with 27 votes in favor.

Even though it did not support the measure, State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert said the U.S. "unequivocally condemns the application of the death penalty for conduct such as homosexuality."

"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," Nauert said. "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 Washington Examiner reports that Nauert criticized what she labeled as "misleading" media coverage condemning the vote and insisted the U.S. would have supported a narrower ban.

Watch Nauert's press briefing in the video player below.