On Day 58, President Barack Obama’s administration is taking a strong step away from the policies of the past by signing the United Nations declaration for the decriminalization of homosexuality.
When faced with supporting the same declaration back on December 19th, the Bush administration shot it down saying it could possibly cause the federal government to create legislation that should be left to state jurisdiction. Until President Obama’s recent decision to back the effort, the United States had been the only western democratic nation not supporting the declaration. State Department spokesman Robert Woods told reporters that it is important for the United States to send a message of inclusion and diversity.
"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,” Woods said. “We will continue to remind countries of the importance of respecting the human rights of all people in all appropriate international fora."
Some say that President Bush, who left office in January with an unprecedented low approval rating, only added to the world’s perception that the United States had become an unprogressive nation by not supporting the declaration. It was just another nail in G.W.‘s coffin; after coming under intense scrutiny by human rights organizations for his lack of concern about overturning the “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell Policy,” and for criticism of his treatment of Guantanamo Bay prisoners.
Rea Carey, the executive director of the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, told AP Wednesday that president Obama is sending the right message to the world at a crucial time.
"This is long past overdue and we are encouraged by the signal it sends that the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people will now be considered human rights.”
Some say the Obama administration’s move to support the measure opens doors for a possible end to the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell Policy,” which makes it illegal for homosexual service men and women to serve openly gay in the military.