Legal and human rights experts are criticizing the Inter-American Commission on Human Rights (Commission) for “overstepping” its authority and advancing a dangerous trend that harms the cause of human rights.
The criticism follows the Commissions decision to “strengthen its capacity” to promote sexual orientation by creating a “Unit on the Rights of Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans, and Intersex (LGBTI) Persons.”
The Commission, a branch of the Organization of American States (OAS), called the new Unit “part of the comprehensive approach the IACHR has adopted.”
A close observer to the Organization of American States and its various bodies called this development part of an “insidious” trend. Speaking on the condition of anonymity, he told the Friday Fax that the “overall trend in human rights to single out particular groups for special attention at the expense of other rights and groups” poses a “threat to the overall integrity of the human rights ideal.”
“The underlying ideological dynamic is really insidious. This takes the corpus of human rights and carves out certain rights and groups and does violence to others. It calls into question what human rights are about, allowing them to become the victim of power struggles and hijacked.”
Law professor Ligia M. De Jesus of Ave Maria School of Law, who previously worked at the Commission, said, “It's unfortunate that the IACHR's been hijacked by activists rather than jurists. Creating this unit is an attempt to create new rights for homosexuals, namely, the right to engage in immoral sexual behavior” and it “threatens religious liberty.”
In fact, sexual rights advocate Chai Feldblum has argued that sexual orientation should trump religious views “because that's the only way that the dignity of gay people can be affirmed.”
In various places where sexual orientation is considered a “right,” analysts have found numerous cases of people with religious and moral views being fired from jobs, fined, prosecuted, barred from being foster parents, vandalized or harassed.
Last year the IACHR took this to a new level by seeking to punish judges for deciding against a lesbian activist in a child custody case.
Piero Tozzi, Senior Legal Counsel, Global, with the Alliance Defense Fund, criticized the Commission. "The IACHR has repeatedly overstepped its mandate these past two years, placing ideology over rule of law principles. For example, in the Karen Atala case, the Commission actually demanded that Chile's executive power ‘punish’ Chilean Supreme Court judges for discriminating on the grounds of ‘sexual orientation’ for determining that placing children with the father over their mother, a self-described 'lesbian,’ to be in the children's best interest.”
“If the IACHR weren't so blinded by advancing the homosexual agenda, they would understand that undermining the independence of the judiciary and violating the principle of separation of powers actually undermines rule of law and the integrity of the Inter-American system," Tozzi told the Friday Fax.
The Commission identified “the rights of LGBTI communities” as an emerging area of interest in its Strategic Plan for 2011 - 2015. The next steps for the Commission is to evaluate the Unit’s work, assess if resources exist to continue and possibly create an Office of the Rapporteur on the Rights of LGBTI Persons.
Wendy Wright writes for the Friday Fax of C-FAM.