UN Res to Decriminalize LGBT is a Paper Tiger

The Vatican is expected to team up with several predominately Muslim governments to protest a U.N. resolution that “calls for the decriminalisation of homosexuality worldwide,” according to the U.A.E. newspaper The National. No predominately Muslim nations have been named, but the article mentions that the resolution was discussed among members of the Organization of the Islamic Conference.

I’m on board with decriminalizing homosexuality: it should never be legally permissible to pass judgment on another person’s love in the form of jailing, public humiliation, beating, and/or the death sentence. But I’m not on board with this resolution, because it seems more like a way to fan the flames of intolerance rather than actually get anything done.

The treaty acts as a way to criticize and rile up countries with religious governments that view homosexuality as sinful. The Vatican was the first to react, throwing around the term “gay marriage” and thus detracting attention from the supposed aim of the resolution: the ending of legal punishments and sentences for those in the LGBT community.

The resolution is not only a thinly-veiled taunt, but also a paper tiger: passing a law against a deeply socially-and-religiously entrenched idea doesn’t stop a practice or a common cultural understanding in its tracks. For example: a vast majority of nations signed and/or ratified the Convention of Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination Against Women (CEDAW), but this hasn’t stopped the domestic or institutional mistreatment of women. So why does the U.N. think that this will work?

If the U.N.’s aim were actually to work for worldwide acceptance of homosexuality, the treaty would instead need to be a comprehensive strategy, including long-term education and assessment of legal, national, and religious institutions. Passing judgment off as a flimsy resolution won’t make any friends or change things for the world’s LGBT communities.