On Dec. 4, the U.S. Senate rejected the United Nations Convention on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities that has already been ratified by 126 other countries, including China, Russia, Cuba, Syria and Iran! The treaty had strong support from Republicans and Democrats and every major disability and veterans organization and the U.S. Chamber of Commerce.
The U.S. signed the Convention in 2009, but Senate approval was needed for the signing to be official. This international disability rights treaty would not require any change to any United States law but would forbid discrimination against people with disabilities throughout the world. Other countries would have followed the lead of the United States and used the Americans with Disabilities Act as a model for their disability laws. The rest of the world would have looked up to the United States as leader on disability rights issues.
Unfortunately, that will not be the case. The United States has been embarrassed and people with disabilities and their families are extremely saddened that some misguided senators did not vote for a treaty that required nothing of our country but would have protected vulnerable children and adults with disabilities throughout the world.
We thank Sen. Bob Casey, D-Pa., for voting in support of this treaty and are extremely disappointed that Sen. Pat Toomey, R-Pa., did not vote to uphold the United States' position as a world leader on disability issues and to protect vulnerable children and adults with disabilities.
The writer is president of The Arc of Greater Pittsburgh (achieva.info).