LGBT elected and appointed leaders from across the United States and around the world passed an historic resolution in Seattle this weekend at the Gay & Lesbian Leadership Conference calling upon “all nations and governments to adopt a vocal, clear and consistent policy on international human rights abuses against lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people that includes a call on other countries to abolish sodomy laws.”

Attendees, some who travelled from as far away as Sri Lanka and Poland, vowed to continue to bring attention to the horrific record of some countries on this issue. For instance:

There are reports that in Iran more than 4,000 citizens have been executed since 1979 because they are gay or lesbian;

In Malaysia, “carnal intercourse against the order of nature” is punishable by up to 20 years’ imprisonment and whipping; and

Being gay in Saudi Arabia can lead to jail terms or even beheadings.

The leaders also approved a resolution to “encourage all LGBT legislators and all other LGBT public officials to be open and honest about their sexual orientation or gender identity or expression so that their input on future legislation and proposals will be enhanced by a freedom to share both unique and common professional and personal life experiences with their colleagues and the constituents they represent.”

“These resolutions reflect the quality of the discussions that occurred and the seriousness of the issues discussed. As the LGBT community continues to gain voices at all levels of policy- making and implementation, it’s incumbent that we continue to speak up for those whose voices are silenced in countries that deny them rights simply because they are lesbian, gay, bisexual or transgender,” says Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund and Leadership Institute President and CEO Chuck Wolfe.

The Gay & Lesbian Leadership Conference was presented by the Gay & Lesbian Leadership Institute in collaboration with the International Network of Lesbian and Gay Officials.

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