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Discussions on LGBTQ+ Rights Spur Divide in General Assembly

February 11, 2018

The general assembly has reconvened after passing a resolution regarding the displacement of peoples due to climate change, now focused on the rights of LGBTQ+ peoples globally. Although many countries have stepped forward with policies of openness and inclusivity, some delegations have made it clear they will not be supporting gay rights.

 

One of the first nations to speak was Saudi Arabia, making no effort to disguise their controversial stance. Claiming same-sex relations to go against the culture and religion, the delegation declared LGBTQ+ peoples a risk to children and society. A small group of nations joined them in this stance, including the Russian Federation and Ethiopia, however not all were pleased when the delegation of Saudi Arabia promoted the use of the death penalty in their country should it be necessary.

 

Another group in the dispute was represented by several self-proclaimed “neutral” nations. These delegations wish to encourage policies against discrimination, however remain against same-sex marriage, citing religious beliefs as their reasoning. Fiji, a member of said group, stated the importance of differentiating between criminalizing relationships and prohibiting marriage. Fiji’s population is largely Methodist, and is joined by the Philippines and Micronesia in their beliefs.

 

Religion is not the only factor in this debate, however, with nations such as Argentina proposing full rights to LGBTQ+ peoples despite the majority of the population belonging to the Catholic Faith. Among the many nations that sided with Argentina was Canada, who challenged those opposed to same-sex unions, asking “ Would you consider Romeo and Juliet’s love to be unnatural because they were from different groups?” The Delegation then stated gender is not a deciding feature in relationships, and hopes all nations will come to agree.

 

With such polar views on the topic, a neat and tidy conclusion is unlikely. As half the delegates attend to the blatant breach of human rights in Saudi Arabia, others continue to stand their ground as they advocate for states’ rights to sovereignty. Opinions are certainly varied throughout the General Assembly, and it seems unlikely anyone’s notions are bound to change soon.

 

 

 

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