In 13 Countries the Penalty for Being Gay or Bisexual is Death

The United States has voted against a United Nations resolution that condemns the use of the death penalty as punishment for a variety of acts, including religious blasphemy, adultery, and same-sex relations. The resolution passed 27-13, with seven nations abstaining. America joined just 12 other countries – among them Burundi, China, Egypt, India, Iraq, Japan, Qatar, and Saudi Arabia – in voting against the United Nations Human Rights Council’s resolution.

The Trump administration, which has actively been unravelling LGBT advances in the U.S., does not appear to have explained its vote on the U.S. State Dept. website.

The UN resolution asks countries “that have not yet abolished the death penalty to ensure that it is not imposed as a sanction for specific forms of conduct such as apostasy, blasphemy, adultery and consensual same-sex relations.”

The resolution itself does not even condemn the use of the death penalty, but rather requests countries that have yet to ban the death penalty to “ensure that it is not applied on the basis of discriminatory laws or as a result of a discriminatory or arbitrary application of the law.”

It also urges nations “that have not yet abolished the death penalty to ensure that the death penalty is not applied against persons with mental or intellectual disabilities and persons below 18 years of age at the time of the commission of the crime, as well as pregnant women.”

One LGBT organization is speaking out.

“It is unconscionable to think that there are hundreds of millions of people living in States [countries] where somebody may be executed simply because of whom they love,” Renato Sabbadini, Executive Director of The International Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans and Intersex Association (ILGA), said in a statement. “This is a monumental moment where the international community has publicly highlighted that these horrific laws simply must end.”

The ILGA notes there were six “attempts by Egypt, Russia and Saudi Arabia to amend the resolution and dilute its impact.” They all failed.

There are well-over 70 countries (numbers vary, but generally seen as between 74 and 77) where homosexuality is illegal. In 13 of those countries, the penalty is death.