National Catholic Register

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U.S. Dirty Tactics?

State Department Misrepresents Church Teaching to U.N. Delegations

BY Edward Pentin

Rome Correspondent

April 10-23, 2011 Issue | Posted 4/1/11 at 6:34 PM

 

VATICAN CITY — The U.S. State Department will introduce a resolution on sexual orientation at the United Nations that could result in the reinterpretation of all U.N. human-rights treaties to include same-sex “marriage” and much more.

According to authoritative sources at the U.N., the resolution is expected to be presented possibly in June at either the U.N. General Assembly in New York or the Human Rights Council in Geneva. The Church is already voicing its concern over the plans and urging pro-life Americans to raise the matter with their representatives in Congress.

As the Register went to press, the U.S. Mission in Geneva failed to respond to inquiries over whether these plans were afoot.

Sources say the alleged resolution is partly connected with dubious activities of State Department officials that came to light at the end of March.

The officials purposely misled Latin American delegations into believing the Holy See had changed its position on a sexual orientation declaration that called for “sexual orientation and gender identity” to be new categories of non-discrimination in international law.

The Holy See, in fact, opposed the declaration, which was introduced March 22 and signed by 85 countries — 20 more than in recent declarations — at the Human Rights Council. The State Department later disavowed the tactics, saying it was incorrect procedure.

Yet, despite the State Department’s admission, there was little, if any, international outcry.

“Can you imagine the response if it had been the Vatican caught deliberately misrepresenting the policy positions of other countries?” asked Benjamin Harnwell, chairman of the Rome-based Institute for Human Dignity. “There would be international outrage.” He believed nations should make it very clear to the U.S. government that “this deception is not acceptable” so that “the threadbare concord of trust between peaceable peoples” can be maintained.

The declaration wasn’t voted on; it was a joint statement and so didn’t carry the weight of a resolution. According to the Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute, it was similar to declarations issued by European Union-led coalitions at the U.N. General Assembly in 2008 and the Human Rights Council in 2006.

However, C-FAM said the most recent declaration takes the principles further by calling for these principles to be taken up by all human-rights mechanisms, as well as calling for an end to “stigmatization” on any grounds.

Archbishop Silvano Tomasi, the Vatican’s representative at U.N. offices in Geneva, told the U.N. session on the declaration (entitled “Ending Acts of Violence and Related Human-Rights Violations Based on Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity”) that respect for fundamental human rights should not be used as a pretext for forcing public acceptance of homosexual activity.

He condemned “all violence that is targeted against people because of their sexual feelings and thoughts or sexual behaviors.” But he also urged the U.N. to recognize a “disturbing trend” toward intolerance of those who express moral opposition to homosexual behavior. The archbishop insisted on a distinction between homosexual orientation and homosexual activity: A state should never punish a person on the basis of “sexual thoughts and feelings,” he said, but “can and must regulate behaviors, including various sexual behaviors.”

“Denying the moral dimension of sexuality leads to denying the freedom of the person in this matter and undermines, ultimately, his/her ontological dignity,” Archbishop Tomasi reminded delegates at the U.N. session.

The Holy See was by no means alone in opposing the joint statement and, in fact, belonged to the majority.

“There were counter-statements by the 56 members of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, by the Africa Group and by the Russian Federation,” said Austin Ruse, president of C-FAM. In total, he said those groups “make up more than the 85 nations” who signed the declaration.

But according to sources, South Africa, which supports these European and U.S. statements on sexual orientation and identity, is now trying to win more support for the homosexual agenda by calling for the establishment of a working group that will define sexual orientation. The aim is to try to placate the African group ahead of the planned resolution in June.

Ruse said there is “big opposition” to the South Africa move, which is seen as part of something larger.

“The effort is more than just homosexual ‘marriage,’” Ruse said. “It is to make gender identity and sexual orientation new categories of non-discrimination in international law through the reinterpretation of all U.N. human-rights treaties. That would include marriage and much else.” However, he said a “solid bloc” of more than 80 countries is “adamantly against this.”

With the speculation surrounding this possible resolution, the Vatican is concerned that matters are reaching the “boiling point” on the sexual-orientation debate. It has noted with alarm the forcefulness with which the U.S. has “gone out on a limb” for homosexual persons beyond what is rightful protection for them.

In a March 22 statement, the White House announced that President Obama had agreed to set up a special investigator on “LGBT issues” at the Organization of American States — the first of its kind in the world.

Edward Pentin writes from Rome.