Arguing LGBT “rights” Print
By Austin Ruse   
Saturday, 20 October 2012

Homosexual advocates never want to make the debate about homosexual rights overseas strictly about violence against homosexuals. Oh, they say they do. They insist that they do. But do they really?

They flat out deny that their advocacy for homosexual rights overseas has anything to do with marriage, adoption, or any thing other than violence against homosexuals.

It’s part of the fundamental dishonesty in the debate about homosexuality these days and I watched it first hand yesterday in Washington DC.

At the House of Representatives, Ambassador Tom Farr of Georgetown’s Berkley Center for Religion, Peace and World Affairs and I debated James Kirchick, a fellow of the Foundation for Democracies and Ted Stahnke of Human Rights First over the question of homosexual rights overseas.

Kirchick, a widely published writer on foreign policy opened his remarks by talking about the oppressive laws on homosexuality in the nation of Uganda.

He pointed out that a homosexual, David Kato, had been murdered not long after American evangelicals had been to Uganda to rile up the populace against homosexuals. Mr. Kirchick clearly intended to show nasty Evangelical complicity in the murder of Mr. Kato.

Mr. Kirchick forgot to mention that a man later confessed to the murder who was an acquaintance of Kato’s and that the murder was “personal dispute” and not about Kato’s homosexuality. Still, a good martyr is a terrible thing to waste.

Mr. Kirchick repeatedly insisted that he could not understand why anyone could oppose efforts to alleviate such injustice in places like Uganda against people like David Kato.

Like most wedge issues, the proposition is supposed to put opponents in a box. You are against homosexual rights then you support killing them. It’s as simple as that.

But the thing is that most people, even pro-family conservatives, would rally against such violence. What most opponents object to is the dishonesty in the debate, particularly about ends and means, and the worry that such new rights would trump old ones.

Conservative experts who watch these issues know the ends are not simply to stop violence and the means to get there would result in a debasement of international law and basic human rights.

The idea is to elevate “sexual orientation and gender identity” on par with religious freedom and other basic human rights. From that, everything would flow including marriage, adoption, and much else inimical to religious believers. Advocates like Kirchick and Stahnke deny this. A majority of Member States of the United Nations oppose introducing “sexual orientation and gender identity” into any U. N. document because they know this, and they are weary of the way the human rights game is played these days.

   
              Principals in the debate (Ruse and Farr, Kirchick and Stahnke)

And sadly, it has become a game and as such threatens a proper understanding of human rights and undermines the whole human rights regime.

First you start with a study of violence against homosexuals, as happened not long ago in the U.N. Human Rights Council. All they wanted was a study. Nothing more. The vote on the study was controversial, and it passed narrowly.

The vote simply to conduct a study on violence became this enormous human rights victory – a human rights breakthrough. It became a hallmark of LGBT human rights.

Advocates implied that such a breakthrough marked a new understanding of international law, that there are new standards that governments may be legally bound to follow. I exaggerate but only slightly.

Mr. Kirchick himself in his Washington Post column last March provides a prime example of this bootstrapping phenomenon. He refers to a 2008 “U. N. General Assembly resolution calling for decriminalization of homosexuality.”

The problem is, there was no such U.N. General Assembly Resolution. U.N. resolutions are particular things and there was no such thing that came out of the General Assembly.

There was a joint statement signed by sixty-five countries to that effect. But there is a world of difference in international law between a U.N. Resolution and what was little more than a glorified press release.

Yet this is how the game is played these days. A press release becomes international law at the hands of advocates who probably know better.

And this is why there is intense and widespread resistance to such new categories and new standards. Many more countries would support action in defense of homosexuals who are persecuted except they know the inherent dishonesty in the effort and they know where such efforts are really going, no matter the protestations of Mr. Kirchick and others on his side.

The thing is, existing human rights instruments already protect homosexuals. Like all of us, they are protected from arbitrary arrest, torture, violence, and murder.

To assert that “Gay rights are human rights and human rights are Gay rights”  as Hillary Clinton does, undermines the universality and indivisibility of human rights.

They may not know it, but in the process of such slicing and dicing of human rights, homosexuals, along with the rest of us, are being put into further danger.

 
Austin Ruse is the President of the New York and Washington, D.C.-based Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute (C-FAM), a research institute that focuses exclusively on international social policy. The opinions expressed here are Mr. Ruse’s alone and do not necessarily reflect the policies or positions of C-FAM.
 
 
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