U.S. to Endorse Gay Rights Resolution

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CBNNews.com - WASHINGTON - President Obama will endorse a U.N. declaration calling for a world wide de-criminalization of homosexuals.

The French-sponsored declaration would ban countries from making homosexuality illegal.

Former President Bush refused to sign the declaration when he was in office, making the U.S. the only western country to not sign it.

U.S. officials said then that the U.S. opposed discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation but that parts of the declaration raised legal questions that needed further review.

Bush had concerns that signing the declaration could create problems for the federal government, especially on matters that fall under state jurisdiction.

For example, in some states, landlords and private employers are allowed to discriminate on the basis of sexual orientation. Also, on the federal level, gays are not allowed to serve openly in the military.

U.S. Officials:  U.S. Now a Supporter

Still, U.S. officials on Tuesday notified the declaration's sponsor that the U.S. was now a supporter.

An unnamed source speaking to The Associated Press said that the United States is concerned about "violence and human rights abuses against gay, lesbian, transsexual and bisexual individuals" and was also "troubled by the criminalization of sexual orientation in many countries."

Seventy U.N. member nations -- mainly Muslim countries -- outlaw homosexuality, and in several, homosexual acts can be punished by execution. More than 50 nations, including members of the Organization of the Islamic Conference, opposed the declaration.

Some Islamic countries said at the time that protecting sexual orientation could lead to "the social normalization and possibly the legalization of deplorable acts" such as pedophilia and incest.

The declaration was also opposed by the Vatican.

Source: The Associated Press

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