Five weeks ago today, gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender people were subjected to homophobia and religious and cultural extremism, thanks to a United Nations vote that removed â€œsexual orientationâ€ from an ongoing resolution that protects people from arbitrary executions. Yes, the UN General Assembly on November 16 had in fact voted to allow LGBT people to be executed without cause.
Today, after a reported gas-leak forced evacuation of the building, a vote to restore the term “sexual orientation” to the UN General Assembly resolution on extra judicial executions is taking place, with U.S. Ambassador Susan Rice leading the effort.
Today, the UN voted in favor of restoring “sexual orientation” to the UN General Assembly resolution on extra judicial executions, by a margin of 109-41, with 35 abstentions.
The UN General Assembly’s Third CommitteeÂ vote to remove the term “sexual orientation” from a draft resolution on extrajudicial killings last month won by a slimÂ seven vote margin, 79 to 70, (17 abstentions and 26 absent,) butÂ supportÂ for the final version of the resolution won with a lopsided victoryÂ at 165 votes in support and 10 absentions, one of which included the United States.
South African political leaders wielding religious fundamentalism, aided by Mormon and Christian Fundamentalists, including “The Family,” were behind the UN Vote allowing gays to be executed without cause.
“We are going to fight to restore the reference to sexual orientation,” Ambassador Rice said. Â “We’re going to stand firm on this basic principle. Â And we intend to win.”
RiceÂ delivered aÂ passionate statement about the UN General Assembly (UNGA) vote that stripped out “sexual orientation” for the first time in 10 years, toÂ a UN LGBTÂ groupÂ on Dec. 10, commemoratingÂ InternationalÂ Human Rights Day.
“Here at the United Nations, like many of you, I was incensed by the recent vote in the General Assembly’s Third Committee, which eliminated any mention of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgenderÂ individuals from a resolution condemning extrajudicial killing of vulnerable people around the world.Â We fought hard for that reference whenÂ it came to the Committee vote, and we lost.Â But we’re not done yet.Â The resolution now goes to the full General Assembly.Â For countries that voted in the Commitee to keep the reference to sexual orientation, we thank you.Â For countries that haven’t yet done so, we urge you to join us. And for countries that have supported this reference in the past but charged course thisÂ year, we urge you to stand Â again with us and with all vulnerable people around the world at risk of violence.”
Last month,Â U.K. gay rights and human rights campaignerÂ Peter TatchellÂ called itÂ â€œa shameful day in United Nations history.”
A winning outcome was not assured, according to Mark Bromley, chair of the Council for Global Equality.Â BromleyÂ also had saidÂ the “vote count is looking better, but it is going to be very, very, very close.”
During today’s vote, Belgium, representing the European Union said the restoration “significantly improves” the text of the resolution.Â The Nordic countries representative said they were “deeply disappointed” by the removal of the term “sexual orientation,” and added, “No one should be killed because of their sexual orientation.” Canada added a request to include “gender identity” to the text. Argentina and Mexico spoke in support of adding the term back into the resolution also, saying, “We’re not demanding that this group enjoy greater protections,” but, “every year there are people executed for reasons of their sexual orientation.”
Suggesting LGBT peoples are weak and invited discrimination, the United Arab Emirates spoke at length, and said it “rejects firmly” the “controversial” statement that has “no legal foundation.”
The African Group representative said they were “gravely alarmed” with the “undefined notion of sexual orientation,” and called the attempt to restore the term a “systematic attempt to create new rights,” and Â said it would “jeopardize the entire human rights framework… to achieve narrow political gain.”
In a major switch, South Africa voted for the resolution, after having voted to remove sexual orientation from the resolution last month. Rowanda also spoke very eloquently. But Zimbabwe, calling the text “adventurism,” also likened homosexuality to bestiality and said “individual proclivities should be just that.”
A significant effort had been launched by the Unitarian Universalist United Nations Office LGBT Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity project, who hosted its second UN consultation meeting on Dec. 13, in concert with the Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), the Metropolitan Community Church (MCC), the St. Paul’s Foundation for International Reconciliation and the Union Theological Seminary and 40 leaders of faith, non-governmental organizations (NGOs), and LGBT activists to discuss the UNGA vote and the increasingly hostile environment for LGBT people in Eastern Africa.
According to Ryan Ubuntu Olson, the Unitarian’s LGBT-SOGI (sexual orientation and gender identity) director, there has been a lot of concern at the UN about how a negative vote by the UNGAÂ thatÂ would not restore “sexual orientation” to the resolution would affect other efforts to advance LGBT rights at the UN.
“Many people are worried and it is not clear how the votes are going to go,” Olson said.
In response andÂ support of Ambassador Rice’s efforts, the UN Faith Coalition for LGBTÂ Human RightsÂ issued a resolution on Dec. 18th which “fully affirms and supports the proposed actions of Ambassador Rice … to restore the prohibition of the violent targeting and extrajudicial killing of people who are vulnerable because of their sexual orientation.” Â The resolution also urges UN member states to abstain from the vote to restore “sexual orientation” if they can not support it.
ARC International and the International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission have alsoÂ been organizing NGO activists who have been working the vote to restore “sexual orientation” to the UNGA resolution.Â For more information on the UN vote and to learn more about organizing for UN LGBT relatedÂ issues go to the ARC website.
Editor’s note: Tomorrow we will post the audio of the vote. Stay tuned!
Tanya L. Domi is an Adjunct Assistant Professor of International and Public Affairs atColumbia University, who teaches about human rights in Eurasia and is aÂ Harriman Instituteaffiliated faculty member. Prior to teaching at Columbia, Domi worked internationally for more than a decade on issues related to democratic transitional development, including political and media development, human rights, gender issues, sex trafficking, and media freedom.
Enjoy this piece?
… then let us make a small request. The New Civil Rights Movement depends on readers like you to meet our ongoing expenses and continue producing quality progressive journalism. Three Silicon Valley giants consume 70 percent of all online advertising dollars, so we need your help to continue doing what we do.
NCRM is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. From unflinching coverage of religious extremism, to spotlighting efforts to roll back our rights, NCRM continues to speak truth to power. America needs independent voices like NCRM to be sure no one is forgotten.
Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure NCRM remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to NCRM, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.
Another Santos Financial Concern: GOP Lawmaker Claims Campaign Paid WinRed Triple the Fees It Should Have
WinRed, the right-wing fundraising processor platform created to compete with Democrats’ ActBlue, has asked the Santos campaign to correct a financial report that claims the New York GOP lawmaker paid them more than triple what it should have – suggesting the entry on his Federal Election Commission (FEC) report is erroneous.
“Santos reported paying WinRed more than $206,000 to process donations to his 2022 campaign, records show. But that amount doesn’t match up with how much money Santos actually raised,” NBC News reports.
“WinRed charges candidates a 3.94% fee for contributions made online by credit card. At that rate, Santos would have had to have raised more than $5.2 million through WinRed to warrant a $206,000 payment to the firm,” NBC explains. “Through November, however, his campaign reported total contributions of $1.7 million, including donations that didn’t come through WinRed.”
WinRed would not tell NBC News how much the Santos campaign actually paid them, with the news network offering that it could be “sloppy accounting.”
But one campaign finance expert, attorney Brett Kappel, warns, “nothing that appears on Rep. Santos’s FEC reports can be taken at face value.”
This follows reports that the Santos campaign amended two filings to indicate that a $500,000 personal loan and a $125,000 personal loan, claimed to have been from the candidate’s own personal funds, was not from his personal funds. There is no information indicating what entity loaned the Santos campaign the money, or if it actually even existed.
That bombshell was followed up this week with yet another one: the FEC reports were allegedly signed by a “treasurer” who does not and never has worked for the Santos campaign. One expert called that a “big no-no,” and “completely illegal.”
‘Deliberately Deceived the Nation’: Legal Experts Stunned by ‘Jaw-Dropping’ Report on How Barr and Durham Protected Trump
Legal experts are now weighing in on Thursday’s bombshell, massive and months-long reporting from The New York Times that reveals, among several previously unknown allegations, that then-Attorney General Bill Barr and his special counsel, John Durham were handed apparent evidence of suspicious financial acts by Donald Trump, and proceeded to create a false public narrative that Durham’s investigation found evidence of “suspicious financial dealings” related to Trump, suggesting it was on the part of the FBI, not the president, in order to protect the president.
“On one of Mr. Barr and Mr. Durham’s trips to Europe,” The Times reveals, “according to people familiar with the matter, Italian officials — while denying any role in setting off the Russia investigation — unexpectedly offered a potentially explosive tip linking Mr. Trump to certain suspected financial crimes.”
The Times adds that “Mr. Barr and Mr. Durham never disclosed that their inquiry expanded in the fall of 2019, based on a tip from Italian officials, to include a criminal investigation into suspicious financial dealings related to Mr. Trump.”
“Mr. Durham never filed charges, and it remains unclear what level of an investigation it was, what steps he took, what he learned and whether anyone at the White House ever found out. The extraordinary fact that Mr. Durham opened a criminal investigation that included scrutinizing Mr. Trump has remained secret.”
Harvard Law Professor Emeritus Laurence Tribe, a constitutional law expert who literally wrote the book on the U.S. Constitution, calls the Times’ report “jaw-dropping.”
“When Durham unexpectedly found evidence of crimes committed BY rather than AGAINST Trump, he and Barr deliberately deceived the nation into thinking the opposite! This deep dive by the NYT is as jaw-dropping as anything I’ve read in the past decade,” Tribe says.
Law professor and former President and Director-Counsel of the NAACP Legal Defense Fund (LDF) Sherrilyn Ifill, one of TIME’s 2021 most influential people in the world, accused Barr of “gaslighting” the public.
“Every line of this article must be read,” Ifill implored. “Horrifying breaches of professional ethics, misuse of DOJ investigative resources, and deliberate lies to, and gaslighting of the public. A grotesque perversion of the appropriate role of Attorney General.”
Former U.S. Attorney Joyce Vance, the well-known MSNBC legal contributor and professor of law, also calls it “jaw dropping.”
“Jaw dropping reporting. Lots here including an explanation of why Durham’s colleague resigned: under pressure from Barr to release an ‘interim’ report damaging Clinton & the FBI as the election drew near, Durham had a draft prepared that wasn’t factual,” she says.
Andrew Weissman, the former General Counsel of the Federal Bureau of Investigation who spent 20 years at DOJ, including working under Special Counsel Robert Mueller, calls Barr “corrupt.”
“Can anyone really be surprised by this?” he asks. “Barr was just so corrupt and so corrupted the DOJ.”
MSNBC legal analyst Jill Wine-Banks, a former Watergate prosecutor and the first woman to serve as US General Counsel of the Army was troubled by the picture The Times painted of how close Barr and Durham were, when special counsels are supposed to have great autonomy and not be shaded by any Attorney General interference.
“Even more troubling than Barr and Durham frequently having drinks and discussing the investigation is the fact that the only crime they discovered on their foreign trip was Italian intel about crimes by Trump,” she says via Twitter. “I want to know the status of that investigation!”
Some legal experts lament that despite the bombshells in The Times’ report, it appears nothing will come of it – certainly nothing from the House Republicans.
Former Associate White House Counsel Ian Bassin sardonically asks, “Surely McCarthy and Jim Jordan’s new Select Committee on ‘the Weaponization of the Federal Government’ will focus on this story and the actions of Bill Barr, John Durham and Donald Trump. Surely, right? Right?”
Wine-Banks also points to House Republicans’ new committee investigating what they claim is “weaponization” of the federal government.
“Barr’s relationship with Durham, his pressure on him to reach a certain result and their failure to follow up on Trump’s crime revealed during the investigation is what weaponization of the DOJ looks like — not what Republicans want to investigate now.”
Pete Strzok, who spent 26 years at the FBI including as Deputy Assistant Director of the Bureau’s Counterintelligence Division, and led the investigation into Russian interference in the 2016 United States election, speaks from experience.
“I can see Barr allowing the stunning amount of craziness (a gentle choice of word) described in this article,” he writes. “But does anyone in the current OAG or ODAG care about this? Durham has reported to AG Garland for twenty two (22) months now.”
“This,” Weissman adds separately, pointing to The Times article, “is all about the Trump weaponization of the DOJ – but we know that the House Rs won’t give a damn about it.”
Questions Raised About Another Freshman Republican’s Finances After He Refuses to Comply With Federal Law
Rep. George Santos (R-NY) isn’t the only freshman Republican facing questions about his personal finances.
An investigation conducted by News Channel 5 in Nashville has found that freshman Rep. Andy Ogles (R-TN) never complied with federal laws requiring that he make disclosures about his personal finances.
In fact, notes News Channel 5, “not only did Andy Ogles ignore that law during the campaign, he continues to ignore it today.”
The law in question requires that Ogles and all candidates for elected office to disclose their assets and unearned income, their liabilities, and sources of income paid by one source that exceed $5,000.
Ogles’ office hasn’t responded to News Channel 5’s questions even though the Tennessee lawmaker’s refusal to comply with the law could result in up to a year in prison.
Ogles’ defeated Democratic opponent, Heidi Campbell, told News Channel that it was “frustrating” to see Ogles flout the law, which she complied with last year by releasing her personal finance information all the way back in April of 2022.
“We, as Tennesseans, deserve to have representatives who are following the rules,” she said.
Ogles was also regularly late in filing campaign finance reports, which also contained so many discrepancies that Ogles has received four different letters from the Federal Election Commission demanding that they be explained.
- News3 days ago
‘I Can Speak From Personal Experience’: Just Two Weeks Ago Pence Called for Special Counsel for Biden Classified Docs
- BREAKING NEWS3 days ago
Santos to FEC: My $500,000 Personal Loan to My Campaign Wasn’t Actually From My Personal Funds
- News2 days ago
Marjorie Taylor Greene’s ‘Whole Vision’ Is to Be Trump’s Vice President: Report
- MELTDOWN1 day ago
Republicans Claiming ‘Censorship’ Threaten to Haul AT&T and DirecTV Into Congress for Dropping Far-Right Newsmax
- RIGHT WING EXTREMISM2 days ago
‘X-Rated’: Christian Nationalist Mastriano Promises Bill to Ban Public Drag Shows After High School’s ‘Queer Prom’
- News3 days ago
Santos Bragged He ‘Slaughters’ Democrats on Anti-Government Group’s Podcast (Video)
- RELIGION2 days ago
Watch: Pope Francis Says Homosexuality Is ‘A Sin’ But Not ‘A Crime’
- News2 days ago
Watch: Santos Shuts Door on Reporters, Says ‘No Comment’ on $500,000 ‘Personal’ Loan After Amending FEC Report