Why is the U.S. Working with NGOs and Countries that Denigrate President Trump?

By Stefano Gennarini, J.D. | September 28, 2018

President Trump made a strong promise to respect sovereignty and the culture and traditions of other countries at the General Assembly on Tuesday. But the State Department needs to do more to back this promise with action.

The United States is still part of a radical group of UN member states known as the “LGBT Core Group” committed to subverting human right law to promote LGBT rights, as I described in a Friday Fax this week.

On the one hand Trump promises not to get involved in social engineering. On the other, the State Department promotes LGBT rights through membership in the LGBT Core Group. Put yourself in the shoes of a delegate from a country that was barraged by the Obama administration and the LGBT Core Group to accept homosexuality internationally. This sends mixed messages.

And we are not even talking here about just protection from violence and unjust discrimination or enshrining the scientifically unverified and legally non-cognizable notions of “sexual orientation and gender identify” as a part of international law. The group promotes the whole panoply of LGBT rights that LGBT groups clamor for, including homosexual marriage as a way to end discrimination! This is simply untenable.

The very existence and purpose of the group undermines sovereignty and international law. Their only reason for being is to disingenuously manufacture LGBT rights from UN treaties that simply do not mention any such notion or can be fairly read to imply them.

These treaties were painstakingly negotiated by Sovereign States when most all countries on earth still had sodomy laws, including the United States. It is simply impossible to read LGBT rights of any kind in UN treaties. Playing fast and loose with binding international law ultimately undermines human rights and the U.S. should have nothing to do with it.

The Trump administration must withdraw the U.S. from this group. It opens the administration to the charge of being duplicitous. And there is nothing that UN diplomats hate more than duplicitousness.

The U.S. could still call for respect of the human rights of “individuals who identify as LGBT” if this is important to the administration. But it should make it clear that recognition of “sexual orientation and gender identity” as protected categories is not required under international law, and it cannot continue to be part of a group whose sole purpose is to antagonize countries with traditional social mores and subvert international law through bureaucratic schemes. This is simply untenable.

Aside from these considerations, what beggars belief is that the United States continues to be a part of this group even though the countries that are part of the group are publicly denigrating President Trump for his foreign policy, including by delivering implicit jabs at “unilateralism” and “nationalism” during the event on Tuesday.

Most egregious of all, OutRight International, the LGBT group that acts as the coordinator of the group of 24 states—and a group that worked closely with the Obama administration to push LGBT rights at UN headquarters and around the world—issued a press release on the same day as the event berating President Trump for his speech at the United Nations, and specifically his focus on sovereignty and respect for other countries’ traditions and cultures.

The press release attributed to Jessica Stern, the Executive Director of OutRight International, is below:

Like last year, President Trump’s message at the UN General Assembly prioritized national sovereignty over global community and accountability. He went so far as to say that every nation should prioritize their own customs, beliefs, and traditions, a notion that directly contradicts 70 years of evidence about what makes all people in all countries thrive.

As an international LGBTIQ human rights organization, we know that sovereignty and claims to tradition, belief, and custom, have been used repeatedly to trample on the human rights of LGBTIQ people, women, people of color, religious minorities, and anyone driven to the margins of society. These are excuses States use to advance a patriarchal, nationalistic agenda.

The Universal Declaration of Human Rights, adopted by the UN 70 years ago, affords rights to every individual. These fundamental rights should never be compromised regardless of where someone lives, or the so-called customs and traditions in those countries.

President Trump is short sighted when he asks nations to “choose a future of patriotism.” That ignores the fact that we are all different in some way. Plurality and diversity make all our nations stronger. The future lies in embracing our collective differences.

If the U.S. continues to be a member of the group the Trump administration will be the laughing stock of the international community, and not in the benign sense in which delegates and leaders shared laughter with Trump at the General Assembly on Tuesday.