Disability Advocates Ask Tenn. Senators to Reconsider U.N. Treaty

Jan 15, 2014

Tenn. Senators Bob Corker and Lamar Alexander
Credit senate.gov

MURFREESBORO, Tenn. (TNS/WMOT)  --  In 2012, Tennessee Senators Lamar Alexander and Bob Corker both voted against ratification of a  United Nations treaty on the Rights of Persons with Disabilities.

Organizations from across the state that work with the disabled are now urging the senators to reconsider.

Corker and Alexander have both expressed concerns that the treaty might take precedence over American law. Alexander is quoted as saying,

“The United States already is the gold standard for laws that protect the rights of those with disabilities. Because of concerns that the treaty might interfere with those domestic laws, I cannot support U.S. ratification of the treaty.”

Dylan Brown, with Nashville’s Center for Independent Living, says those concerns are overblown.

“The treaty is not giving any authority to the U.N. that we're going to have to go by some law outside of our own. It's just basically stating that we, as Americans, are behind the rights of individuals with disabilities all around the world."

Fellow Tennessee Republican and former Senator Bill Frist is also urging Corker and Alexander to reconsider ratification.

The U.N. treaty on disabilities has been signed by more than 150 countries. In the U-S, it was negotiated and first signed under former President George W. Bush and then signed again by President Obama in 2009.