KC LEGAL (Kansas City Lesbian and Gay Allied Lawyers) denounces President Trump’s Executive Order banning the immigration of Muslims from Syria, Iran, Iraq, Libya, Sudan, Yemen, and Somalia because the order places the United States in violation of international treaty law which the US legislature has agreed to respect.
The United States acceded to the United Nations Protocol Relating to the Status of Refugees in 1968. By act of Congress in 1980, the US incorporated the Protocol definition of “refugee” into US law in 1980, bringing the US in alignment with the other 144 nations of the earth that define a refugee as a person fleeing persecution on account of his or her race, religion, nationality, membership in a particular social group or political opinion. In doing so, the United States committed itself to offering sanctuary to victims whose home countries are unable or unwilling to help them.
Historically, in the US and in countries around the world, individuals who suffer persecution on account of their LGBT status have qualified for refugee status as members of a particular social group. Twelve countries today punish homosexuality by death. This judicially sanctioned murder exists as part of the penal codes of six of the seven countries regulated by Trump’s Executive Order, Syria being the lone exception. Until now, the United States has honorably provided life-saving refuge to LGBT individuals threatened by death in Yemen and Somalia. Whether a person in Iraq or Iran or the Sudan is an atheist, a Christian, or a Muslim, if he or she faces death because of his or her innate sexuality, the United States has defended the right to life and freedom and offered itself as a sanctuary.
The Executive Order in question, however, creates a standard of disparate treatment for Christian and Muslim gays who flee persecution, cementing a two-tiered system for the classification of refugees. In effect the Executive Order defines two standards for offering life-saving assistance to human beings who define themselves as gay: Christians are worth saving and Muslims are not.
This Order is an affront to human dignity. KC LEGAL stands for the rule of law and our country’s founding principle, that all are created equal.