It's not about gay rights – it's about human rights

Published: March 6, 2012

For many, “gay rights” is associated with the debate over whether gay people should be allowed to marry, adopt children or serve openly in the military. But a discussion looming before the United Nations this week is far more basic: whether gays should enjoy the basic right to life. 

On Wednesday the U.N. Human Rights Council in Geneva is to discuss the recommendations of a November report surveying the discrimination and abuse — often state-sponsored — that gay people endure around the world. The findings are chilling: Some 680 transgender people were murdered in 50 countries between 2008 and 2011; 76 countries classify homosexuality as a crime, and at least five of those apply the death penalty. Even those who disapprove of homosexuality on religious grounds are unlikely to object to the report’s anodyne recommendations: that governments should decriminalize homosexuality, work to prevent violence against gays and recognize sexual orientation as a valid cause for asylum.

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