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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, February 2, 2018 - Volume 46 Issue 05
Trump administration declines to sign OAS statement in support of marriage equality
Section One
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Trump administration declines to sign OAS statement in support of marriage equality

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

The Trump administration has declined to join seven other Organization of American States (OAS) countries in signing a declaration supporting marriage equality.

The declaration is a spin-off of the recent ruling by the Inter-American Court of Human Rights that signatory countries must provide marriage equality and legal protections for Transgender residents.

The court had found Costa Rica is in violation of its treaty obligations under the American Convention on Human Rights (ACHR) by not providing for same-sex marriages, or legal options for Transgender people to change gender markers on their identity documents.

After the ruling, seven of the eight countries in the OAS LGBTI Core Group signed on to a statement supporting the court's opinion, but the US government declined to do so.

The seven nations that signed the statement are Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Uruguay. The United States was the only member of the LGBTI Core Group not to sign the statement welcoming the court ruling.

The OAS statement says:

'Argentina, Brazil, Canada, Chile, Colombia, Mexico and Uruguay, as members of the OAS LGBTI Core Group, welcome the Advisory Opinion of the Inter-American Court of Human Rights reiterating that sexual orientation and gender identity are protected categories under the American Convention on Human Rights and affirming that States have the responsibility to recognize, guarantee and protect the rights that derive from a family bond between persons of the same sex.

'The Court's Opinion constitutes a valuable contribution to the jurisprudence of the Inter-American Human Rights System, as it reminds States of their obligations regarding guaranteeing and protecting the rights of LGBTI persons across the region.

'Furthermore, the Court understood that a person's full autonomy to establish a permanent and marital bond is derived from the principle of human dignity, and that such a bond deserves equal rights and protection regardless of the sexual orientation of the parties.

'Likewise, the Advisory Opinion reaffirms the rights of transgender people by affirming that the change of name, image adjustment, as well as the rectification of sex or gender references, in registers and in identity documents so that these are consistent with self-perceived gender identity, is a right protected by the American Convention. As a consequence, States are obliged to recognize, regulate and establish the appropriate procedures for such purposes.

'Without prejudice to the sovereign right of all States to adopt policies and legislation in a progressive manner and to evolve on this matter at their own pace, we agree with the Court's view that lack of consensus on respecting the rights of certain groups that are characterized by their sexual orientation or their gender identity or expression cannot be considered a reason to deny or restrict their human rights or perpetuate historical or structural discrimination against them.

'The afore-mentioned members of the Core Group are optimistic that this Advisory Opinion will provide elements for States to drive legislative, administrative and public policy reforms through which progress is made in the protection and guarantee, under equal conditions, of the rights of LGBTI people.'

Ty Cobb, director of Human Rights Campaign Global and no relation to the Trump attorney of the same name, denounced the US decision.

'The Trump-Pence administration's refusal to sign this statement in support of marriage equality and transgender rights is deeply troubling,' Cobb said.

'As the administration unleashes a torrent of attacks on the LGBTQ community here at home, it is also abandoning LGBTQ people around the world. We are in desperate need of leadership that will advance America's commitment to LGBTQ human rights in the U.S. and abroad.'

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