More guilt by association

January 25, 2006

Kevin Drum:

The International Lesbian and Gay Association recently applied to join the United Nations Economic and Social Council.  The following countries voted to consider their application:

Chile, France, Germany, Peru, Romania

The following countries voted to dismiss the application without even giving it a hearing:

Cameroon, China, Cuba, Iran, Pakistan, Russian Federation, Senegal, Sudan, Zimbabwe

Guess which of these two fine groups of countries the Bush/Cheney administration voted with?

Hmmm. That’s a really pathetic argument. Wow, the US voted the same way as "bad" countries; that means…absolutely nothing. Drum and Cathy Young (from whom Drum seems to have heard the story) both seem to have taken all their information from the ILGA press release. Fortunately, some of their commenters were a little more diligent and found this on Wikipedia:

In the summer of 1993 the ILGA gained consultative status on the UN Economic and Social Council
(ECOSOC) as a Non-Governmental-Organization, joining 3,000
organisations throughout the world. However, that status was suspended
in 1994 after a campaign led by Jesse Helms focussing on NAMBLA‘s
membership in ILGA. ILGA members voted 214-30 to expel three pedophile
groups but despite this was not able to convince the UN that it had no
member organisations that promoted pedophilia.

ILGA had passed a resolution in 1985 which stated that "young people
have the right to sexual and social self-determination and that age of
consent laws often operate to oppress and not to protect." In spite of
this apparent agreement with NAMBLA on the age of consent issue just
nine years before, ILGA, by a vote of 214-30 expelled NAMBLA and two
other groups (MARTIJN and Project Truth)
in early 1994 because they were judged to be "groups whose predominant
aim is to support or promote pedophilia." The UN removed ILGA’s
consultative status "based on concerns raised about its member
organizations or subsidiaries that promoted or condoned paedophilia". [3]

ILGA applied to have its consultative status reinstated in 2000 [4], but on 30 April 2002 the United Nations’ Economic & Social Council voted 29-17 not to grant this application. [5] The Washington Times
reported that opponents blocked ILGA’s attempt to regain consultative
status because the association had not provided sufficient evidence
that it had eliminated NAMBLA and the other pedophile groups from its
membership roster, ILGA having refused to provide UN officials with a
list of its member organizations. ILGA justified keeping its membership
secret on the grounds that, in many countries, homosexual activity is
still criminalised and such a list would identify its groups and put
them in danger. [6]

On 3 May 2003, ECOSOC voted to again decline consultative status to ILGA. ILGA submitted another application, along with other LGBT rights organisations but it was rejected on 23 January 2006.

Now, this isn’t conclusive, but doesn’t it require a little more nuanced consideration than Drum or Young provide?


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