History of LGBTQIA+ Rights in the NSUN era

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Text for The Pride Prom 2024

Introduction

We are referring of course to the old “NationStates United Nations” era, which started in 2003 and ended in 2008, when it “exploded in a fireball” (after a cease and desist letter from the actual United Nations). For convenience reasons we will refer to that era as “NSUN”, and the era after that as NSGA (NationStates General Assembly). Resolutions from that era, following GA convention, are referred to HRs (Historical Resolutions).


LGBTQIA+ rights in general in NSUN era

HR#12 was one of the earliest resolutions of the NSUN body, and it was simply entitled “Gay Rights”. (The use of that term, in some ways and to some, may show its age). Since the resolution is quite short, it is reproduced in full below:

“WHEREAS it has been clearly witnessed there is an outspoken minority who wish to oppress gays.

We, the People's Republic of Kundu and the other peoples of the world wishing for the preservation of freedom and the respect of all hereby resolve that all member nations of the United Nations must pass laws protecting people from discrimination in all parts of life. We also resolve that gay marriages be protected and endorsed by law in the member nations.

We also resolve that gay marriages be protected and endorsed by law in the member nations.”


This was voted through with 62% support, and 38% against and was implemented in May 2003. Note that this early resolution endorsed gay marriage (as that term is used in that resolution) which went through ups-and-downs in the NSUN era.

HR#12 was expanded upon in a number of subsequent resolutions, such as HR#88,
Fairness and Equality, culminating in HR#99, Discrimination Accord, which explicitly condemns (and disallows) discrimination on the basis of “recognized religion, race, sex, sexual orientation…” among other factors mentioned. This was passed in April 2005.

Eventually, in February 2006, HR#144 was passed, repealing HR#12. (That was authored by Omigodtheykilledkenny, who can still be occasionally found lurking in the forums). That repeal noted that:

“[G]ay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender individuals are ALREADY (sic) afforded substantial protections under international law through past declarations of this body; protections including, but not limited to:

1) Freedom to marry individuals of the same sex or gender;
2) Freedom to express their love for persons of the same gender;
3) Freedom from imprisonment based on sexuality;
4) Freedom from discrimination;
5) Freedom of sexual privacy”



Marriage equality

The recognition of marriage rights as a universal right went through a period of ups and downs - in some ways reflecting the evolving of American voters. (Back in the NSUN era, Internet access was of course less widespread 20 years ago, especially in the global south, so we believe it is safe to assume that NS users back then were Americans).

The first NSUN resolution that discussed marriage equality in detail was NSUN HR#81, which actually was passed in November 2004 - at a time when (then Senate candidate) Barack Obama supported civil unions — but insists that marriage is not a basic civil right, and opposed same-sex marriage.

And of course this was still at the time when the Defense of Marriage Act, which banned federal recognition of same-sex marriage by limiting the definition of marriage to the union of one man and one woman, and it further allowed states to refuse to recognize same-sex marriages granted under the laws of other states, was still the law in the United States. (It passed in 1996; the repeal, Respect for Marriage Act, passed in 2022).

HR#81 was ahead of its time, in defining marriage as the “civil joining of a member of any nation with any other member of any nation, regardless of sex, gender, race, religion, sexual orientation, color, or any other characteristic, with the exception of age”. It passed with 61% of the vote of the then NSUN.

And sure enough, HR#81 was repealed via HR#173 in August 2006, and that repeal stated categorically outright that “[t]his resolution goes too far. It mandates what constitutes a "marriage" with no respect for a nation's religious beliefs, or societal structure.” Perhaps reflecting the moral attitudes of that era (18 years ago, after all), HR#173 passed with 60% of the vote.


References

Old NSUN resolutions library:
https://forum.nationstates.net/viewtopic.php?f=10&t=295326
 
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