U.S. balks at backing condemnation of anti-gay laws
NEW YORK - Alone among major Western nations, the United States has refused to sign a declaration presented Thursday at the United Nations calling for worldwide decriminalization of homosexuality. In all, 66 of the UN's 192 member countries signed the nonbinding declaration - which backers called a historic step to push the General Assembly to deal more forthrightly with any-gay discrimination. More than 70 UN members outlaw homosexuality, and in several of them homosexual acts can be punished by execution.
Co-sponsored by France and the Netherlands, the declaration was signed by all 27 European Union members, as well as Japan, Australia, Mexico and three dozen other countries. There was broad opposition from Muslim nations, and the United States refused to sign, indicating that some parts of the declaration raised legal questions that needed further review.