U.S. Vows to Change U.N. Resolution

BY Julie Bolcer

December 10 2010 5:05 PM ET

Glenda Muzenda, a South African human rights advocate studying at
Columbia University, told The Advocate that resolution would exacerbate the homophobic
climate in her country, where lesbians face the well documented threats
of “corrective rapes” and murder. Just days ago, the burnt remains of a
21-year-old woman believed to be Ncumisa Mzamelo were found in an unused toilet in Kwazulu Natal province.

“As someone from South Africa, and as a lesbian, this resolution is a green light to kill lesbians,” she said.

In
a telephone interview following the Friday address, a spokesman for the U.S.
Mission to the United Nations said the American effort to restore the
protections for sexual orientation would take the form of a new
amendment to the resolution.

“We’re going to introduce an
amendment that will put the language back in,” said Mark Kornblau. “We
are going to be mounting a vigorous effort here over the next week or
ten days to persuade other countries to join us. It is going to be a
difficult effort, but we are hopeful that we can get this passed.”

During
her speech Friday, Ambassador Rice listed progress toward LGBT equality
in the United States under the Obama administration including passage
of the Matthew Shepard Act on hate crimes and the presidential
memorandum to extend federal benefits to the extent possible to same-sex
domestic partners of U.S. government employees. She also mentioned
unfinished business including repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act,
securing adoption rights and ending employment discrimination.

“And
then, of course, there’s “don’t ask, don’t tell,” said the ambassador
to the audience in the ECOSOC chamber. “That law violates fundamental
American principles of fairness, integrity, and equality—and President
Obama remains fully committed to working with Congress to repeal it.”

Ambassador Rice spoke one day after the latest attempt to advance repeal of the military ban stalled in the Senate.

”Yesterday’s
disappointing vote is by no means the end of our efforts, and our
Administration is urging the Senate to revisit this important issue
during the ongoing lame-duck session. President Obama strongly believes
that it’s time for this discriminatory policy to finally end,” she said.













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