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Holy See: Homosexuality Statement Goes Too Far. Says It Challenges Existing Human Rights
NEW YORK, DEC. 18, 2008 (Zenit.org).- A U.N. declaration on sexual orientation and gender identity goes "well beyond" the intent of condemning violence against homosexuals, says the Holy See.

This was affirmed in a statement from the Holy See delegation, delivered at the 63rd session of the U.N. general assembly, in response to the U.N. declaration presented today.

"The Holy See appreciates the attempts made in the declaration on human rights, sexual orientation and gender identity [] to condemn all forms of violence against homosexual persons as well as urge states to take necessary measures to put an end to all criminal penalties against them," the Holy See statement affirmed.

But, it cautioned that "the wording of this declaration goes well beyond the abovementioned and shared intent."

The delegation explained, "In particular, the categories 'sexual orientation' and 'gender identity,' used in the text, find no recognition or clear and agreed definition in international law. If they had to be taken into consideration in the proclaiming and implementing of fundamental rights, these would create serious uncertainty in the law as well as undermine the ability of states to enter into and enforce new and existing human rights conventions and standards."

Sixty-six of the 192 U.N. member states signed the declaration, including all the nations of the European Union. The United States did not sign, indicating a reservation similar to that voiced by the Holy See: a lack of legal clarity in the declaration's wording. Muslim nations were also opposed to the declaration.

The Holy See said the declaration goes beyond the goal of "rightful condemnation of and protection from all forms of violence against homosexual persons," and instead "gives rise to uncertainty in the law and challenges existing human rights norms."

"The Holy See continues to advocate that every sign of unjust discrimination toward homosexual persons should be avoided and urges states to do away with criminal penalties against them," the Holy See statement concluded.

Homosexuality is against the law in several dozen U.N. member states, and in some cases, can even be punished by execution.