GENEVA, June 17, 2011 ( – The United Nations’ Human Rights Council, a committee based in Geneva, Switzerland, has approved a declaration denouncing ‘discrimination’ against homosexuals and ordering a global study of the phenomenon.

The declaration also decries discrimination against people for their “gender identity,” which refers to the sex that a person claims to be, in contrast to his actual biological sex.

The Human Rights Council, whose decisions are not legally binding on UN member nations, passed the resolution in a narrow 23-19 vote, with three abstentions. In addition, Libya was not permitted to vote, because its membership has been suspended.

While Muslim nations voted against the measure, delegates from traditionally Catholic nations voted for it, despite the declaration’s potential conflict with Catholic social teaching.

While the Catholic Church teaches that homosexuals should not be victims of “unjust discrimination,” it also acknowledges that forms of discrimination can be justified or even “obligatory,” especially in cases in which homosexuals are openly involved in homosexual conduct, or pose a threat to children and other vulnerable groups. These teachings, which are often unknown to Catholic politicians, were expressed by then Cardinal Josef Ratzinger, now Pope Benedict XVI, in a declaration issued under his authority in 1992.

Mexican Ambassador Juan Jose Gomez, appointed by a president from the historically pro-Catholic National Action Party, supported the declaration, claiming that protecting homosexuals from discrimination is “exactly the same” as protecting people from discrimination on the grounds of race, religion, and gender.

Mexico was joined by such Catholic nations as Chile, Ecuador, Poland, Spain, Hungary, and Uruguay. A group of traditionally Muslim nations was joined by Russia to oppose the measure.

“This issue has nothing to do with human rights,” Mauritania’s ambassador told the Council representatives. “What we find here is an attempt to change the natural right of a human being with an unnatural right. That is why Mauritania calls on all members to vote against it.”

The declaration expresses “grave concern at acts of violence and discrimination, in all regions of the world, committed against individuals because of their sexual orientation and gender identity” and implies that a previous UN General Assembly resolution on human rights applies to homosexuals and “transgender” people.

The declaration also asks the High Commissioner for Human Rights “to commission a study to be finalized by December 2011, to document discriminatory laws and practices and acts of violence against individuals based on their sexual orientation and gender identity, in all regions of the world, and how international human rights law can be used to end violence and related human rights violations based on sexual orientation and gender identity.”

The study’s results are likely to be used by homosexualist activists to promote measures to advance their political agenda worldwide.