Congress' Unfortunate Ties with Anti-Gay Groups

U.S. politicians that associate with anti-gay groups working abroad undermine their own country's reputation.

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In this Wednesday April 20, 2011 photo,David Bahati, Ugandan Member of Parliament and the proposer of the Controversial anti gay bill in an interview withthe Associated Press. The Ugandan parliamentarian behind an anti-homosexual bill that attracted worldwide condemnation says the most controversial part of the proposed legislation _ the death penalty provision _ is likely to be dropped from the bill. David Bahati said if the parliament committee the bill currently sits before recommends that the death penalty provision be removed, "I would concede." The chairman of that committee, Stephen Tashobya, said in an interview Tuesday that it's possible he will bring the bill up for a vote before the current parliament session ends May 12. "The death penalty is something we have moved away from," Bahati told The Associated Press in an interview last week.

The Economist.com published a very disconcerting article this week entitled "The War on Gays: Strange Bedfellows." The publication revealed that certain prominent American Christian organizations have been spending significant resources overseas lobbying to erode antidiscrimination laws that protect gays, lesbians, bisexuals, and transgender individuals from violence and human rights abuses.

Some of these groups have very close relationships with U.S. politicians. Two of them are the Alliance for Defending Freedom and The Fellowship, sometimes referred to as "The Family." Both have prominent congressman, senators, and judges either on their boards of directors or as their members.

The ADF promotes itself as working to gain justice for those whose faith has been unconstitutionally denied in the areas of religious liberty, the sanctity of life and marriage and family. It claims to be a morally upright organization, but behind the scenes it encourages Caribbean and African governments to strengthen laws that criminalize same-sex behavior.

[See a collection of political cartoons on gay marriage.]

The Fellowship is one of the most politically well-connected organizations in Washington. Some of its members include Republican Senators Tom Coburn, Chuck Grassley, John Thune and Bill Nelson. Another member is Ugandan politician David Bahati.

Bahati has been actively pushing an Anti-Homosexuality Bill, often referred to by the media as the "Kill the Gays bill." The bill introduces the death penalty for gay adults, particularly HIV positive people, and those previously convicted of "homosexual offenses." Since 2009, publicity associated with Bahati's efforts has enflamed anti-gay hatred in Uganda. This hatred has lead to the outing of prominent gay-rights leaders, violent crimes committed against them, the destruction of their homes and property and in some cases their murders.

Both groups' aggressive efforts against equality and human rights are anti-Christian and immoral. However, they're allowed to continue their quests because some U.S. legislators either turn a blind eye to their activities or work to encourage them. In most cases, it's because these elected officials fear that opposition will mean losing the resources that help them get reelected.

[See a collection of political cartoons on Congress.]

One of the board members of the ADF is Alfonso Aguilar. Aguilar was appointed by President Bush in 2003 to be the first Chief of the Office of Citizenship within the U.S. Citizenship and Immigration Services. He has been on the front line lobbying the Obama administration to separate immigration reform from gay-rights immigration issues and compelling GOP congressman to oppose any provisions in the current immigration bill that would allow non-American spouses of gay Americans to immigrate to the U.S.

Those U.S. politicians that associate with the ADF and The Family must sever their ties post haste, because their association undermines the U.S.'s reputation as a beacon of protecting human rights around the globe. If these leaders chose to continue working with those groups, they are no better than leaders who promoted harm against minority populations: leaders like Roman provincial governors and government officials who enforced laws that persecuted Christians; Serbian and Montenegro politicians who did little to prevent the Srebrenica massacre that killed 8,000 Bosnian Muslims during the Bosnian war; and Russian politicians who condoned or orchestrated pograms against Jews during the Russian empire and Joseph Stalin's tenure.

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