Gay men executed in 2014 in Iran.

Should America’s LGBT community give Donald Trump a pass for his administration’s vote against a United Nation’s Human Rights Commission resolution condemning capital punishment for “crimes” that include consensual sexual relations between those of the same sex?

That’s the argument made by the Log Cabin Republicans, an LGBT Republican group.

In an recent interview with the Washington Blade, Log Cabin President Gregory Angelo argued that the Trump administration’s opposition to the anti-death penalty resolution was nothing new.

“The gist of the resolution is in opposition to domestic interests and even United States law when it comes to application of death penalty in all 50 states, and the United States has consistently voted against this resolution,” Angelo said, claiming (somewhat erroneously) that the U.S. had made similar votes in 2007 under George Bush and in 2010 and 2014 under Barack Obama.

The resolution that Trump’s UN Ambassador Nikki Haley opposed  on Friday (which can be accessed online here) actually differed from a UN resolution condemning capital punishment that Obama’s UN ambassador, Keith Harper, considered in 2014.

The resolution Haley voted against condemned laws that allowed for execution of those engaging in consensual same-sex relations. Executing those who engaged in same-sex relations wasn’t even mentioned in the bill before Keith Harper, who in any case abstained from voting.

The good news is that a majority of 23 civilized countries voted on Friday to condemn the execution of people for “crimes” such as “apostasy, blasphemy, adultery and consensual same-sex relations.”

But the United States was one of the 13 largely autocratic and mostly Muslim nations that effectively supported using capital punishment in those situations. The other nations with which the United States sided were Bangladesh, Botswana, Burundi, China, Egypt, Ethiopia, India, Iraq, Japan, Qatar, Saudia Arabia and the United Arab Emirates.

In supporting Trump, Angelo argued that “this was not a standalone resolution on whether or not the United Nations and its members supported use of the death penalty against gay individuals.” If that had been the case, Angelo said, “the United States would stand up and condemn the use of the death penalty to punish gay individuals or same-sex relationships.”

Angelo apparently was arguing that the Haley voted against the resolution because the United States doesn’t believe the United Nations should regulate capital punishment. But the resolution, while it doesn’t endorse execution,  only calls for doing it humanely and for not making homosexual relations, adultery, blasphemy and renouncing one’s own religious belief  reasons for the government to kill.   So tacking on other such “crimes”  gave Trump’s Nikki Haley a reason to oppose it.

Lorri Jean, CEO of the L.A. LGBT Center, today got dragged into the argument over Trump’s opposition to the anti-death penalty resolution by Ben Coleman, a West Hollywood resident and Log Cabin Republican official.

In a contentious exchange on Facebook with this writer, Coleman posted a message saying Jean had sent the Center’s staff a note saying not to worry about the UN vote.

“So, we can be disgusted with the U.S. for supporting the death penalty,” Jean said in her email message, “but we needn’t worry that this is reflecting a particular animus towards LGBT people.”

“I wanted all of you to understand that for years, during the presidencies of Obama, Bush, Clinton, etc., similar resolutions have been introduced in the U.N. (condemning the death penalty in a wide variety of circumstances) and that the U.S. has consistently voted AGAINST them. That is because we practice the death penalty in this country, so the U.S.A. isn’t going to support a resolution that condemns the death penalty.”

Yes. But at least in 2014 the U.S.A., by abstaining, didn’t vote against such a resolution. And the fact that executing those in consensual same-sex relations wasn’t mentioned in 2014 (but was in the bill Trump supported on Friday) speaks volumes about where we are today.

About The Author:

Henry E. (Hank) Scott is publisher and editor of GayLifeLA.com and WEHOville.com. Scott has a long career as a journalist and media business executive, serving as vice president for new media/new product development at The New York Times and president of Out Publishing, former publisher of Out magazine.

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