US clarifies vote on UN death penalty resolution

WASHINGTON — The U.S. State Department explained its “no” vote on a anti-death penalty resolution after an outcry on social media.


In a press briefing on Tuesday, State Department spokesperson Heather Nauert explained why the U.S. voted against the resolution.

“We voted against that resolution because of broader concerns with the resolution’s approach in condemning the death penalty in all circumstances,” Nauert said. “The United States unequivocally condemns the application of the death penalty for conduct such as homosexuality, blasphemy, adultery, and apostasy. We do not consider such conduct appropriate for criminalization.”

Jessica Stern of OutRight Action International told NBC OUT that there had been misreporting and mischaracterizations. “The U.S. always opposes this death penalty resolution, because it makes reference to a global moratorium on the death penalty. For both Obama and Trump, so long as the death penalty is legal in the U.S., it takes this position.”

The Human Rights Campaign welcomed the clarification, but “continues to be concerned about the Trump/Pence administration’s engagement on the human rights of LGBTQ people abroad. It is disturbing that leadership in this administration did not discuss this position in their original explanation for the “no” vote.”