No one expects Saudi Arabia, Cuba and Liberia to start printing gay-marriage licences any time soon. But would it be too much to ask that these countries at least oppose the targeted murder of homosexuals?
As it does every few years, a committee of the United Nations General Assembly has been fashioning a resolution calling for states to prosecute the extra-judicial killings of people because of their race, nationality, ethnicity, religion, language or other identifying characteristics. In past years, sexual orientation has been part of this list. But thanks to an amendment supported by a group of African and Muslim nations -- which passed by a vote of 79-70 -- the reference to sexual orientation has been struck from this year's resolution. The effective message is that killing someone because they're gay isn't that bad.
Putting aside the disgust one feels at the manner by which the UN now has become a forum for organizing homophobes (to go along with the body's day-to-day role of promoting bigotry against Israel), the results serve up several lessons.
First, they show that a nation's attitude toward homosexuality can more or less be taken as a reliable proxy for the general health of its society. With few exceptions, the list of 70 pro-gay nations all are places where most of us would gladly work and visit, and perhaps even live; while the anti-gay nations tend toward corruption, dictatorship, rigidly patriarchal values and a lack of religious tolerance.
Second, they show that homophobia is not a "natural" form of bigotry, as some social conservatives suggest; rather, it survives in the modern age due to one of three very specific influences: totalitarian politics, retrograde religiosity and the primitive social superstitions that pervade very poor societies.
Third, they show up the fantastic ignorance and hypocrisy of radicalized gay-rights groups as Queers Against Israeli Apartheid -- which direct their hate at pro-gay Israel while ignoring the dozens of Muslim countries where gay bashing is common and, as these nations now effectively have informed us, officially tolerated. By the same token, Canadian labour groups such as the Canadian Union of Postal Workers might tell us why they are telling their members that "Cuba needs our support" (that's an actual quote from a CUPW "international solidarity bulletin") now that the Castro brothers have voted down a resolution against gay bashing.
"You can judge a society by how they treat their weakest members," Gandhi once said. In many parts of the world, that means the gay population. It's sad that the UN's assorted, overlapping dictatorships, Muslim states and banana republics aren't just flunking Gandhi's test -- they're actually flaunting their failure at the General Assembly.
Tuesday, November 23, 2010
Homophobia at the UN
So, tell me again why not winning a seat on the UN Security Council was such an embarrassment to Canada? Jonathan Kay writes in today's National Post about the latest travesty from the General Assembly: