Every week, PRA gives you a monthly update on a different social justice issue. This week, we are recapping the last month in LGBTQ Rights.
Providence College Cancels Debate With Prominent LGBTQ Defender
John Corvino, who has made a name for himself debating Maggie Gallagher, was due to give a lecture titled, “The Meaning of (Gay) Marriage” on September 26 at the Catholic-affiliated Providence College. A day before the lecture was scheduled, the provost of Providence College sent a message to the faculty, staff, and students, explaining that he was canceling Corvino’s lecture, citing his concern that “the event had strayed from what had originally been proposed.” The provost went on to say that he did not feel that it was fair to have a theologian staff member debate Corvino, who was to present his argument from a legal-philosophical perspective. Corvino then responded to the cancellation of his lecture, stating his disappointment with the provost.
First Ever Ministerial Meeting on LGBTQ Rights at United Nations, Russia Suspiciously Absent
On September 26, the UN held its first ministerial meeting on LGBTQ rights. According to the official brief, during the meeting the High Commissioner of Human Rights, Navi Pallay, highlighted the progress made in securing rights for LGBT people in the past decade, while also citing Eastern Europe and African countries as places where conditions are deteriorating. Free & Equal, an initiative of the United Nations Human Rights Office launched in July as a global public information campaign to promote respect for the human rights of LGBTQ people, released a three-minute highlight video from the meeting.
Pro-LGBTQ Christian Website Launches
On September 4, the NALT Christian Project launched. NALT stands for Not All Like That, and the website is a joint venture of Truth Wins Out and John Shore. The website allows Christians to upload videos in support of LGBTQ rights. Dan Savage, whose It Gets Better Campaign website inspired the format of the NALT website, came out as a supporter for the project. Peter Labarbera and Matt Barber lambasted NALT and Savage on a Liberty Counsel televised program, Faith & Freedom.
NOM Wants To Know Where You Are Going to the Bathroom
The National Organization for Marriage (NOM) has expanded its scope beyond the marriage debate and is looking into school bathrooms. In a blog post titled “We Can Help Stop the Madness In California”, Brian Brown put NOM’s support behind an effort to repeal a law in California that allows transgender students to use the bathrooms that conform to their gender identity while in school. Brown chastises the state’s residents, stating “We warned Californians during the Proposition 8 campaign that once marriage was redefined, it would open the floodgates to more proposals to use the public schools to push our opponents’ activist agenda.” NOM is currently working with the Privacy for All Students Coalition towards gathering the necessary amount of signatures to get the repeal on the ballot.
Only a Handful of People Attend Voice of the Voiceless (VoV) Dinner
VoV president Christopher Doyle, along with Parents and Friends of Ex-Gays (PFOX), finally delivered on his promise for a dinner in honor of the “ex-gay” rights movement. September, Doyle states, is now officially “Ex-Gay Awareness Month.” The reception was a private event, and as indicted by the code of conduct on the invitation, it was also extremely exclusive. The cloak of exclusivity ineffectively disallowed media scrutiny of the event while allowing Doyle to continue to claim he has a sizable number of “ex-gays” rallying around him. According to VoV “former homosexuals are the last invisible minority in American culture”, with Doyle claiming there are tens of thousands of “ex-gays” ready to descend on Washington DC. July’s “ex-gay” pride rally confirmed many people’s suspicions that Doyle may be lying. Attendance of the dinner and reception, held on September 30, was a measly sixty people.
In the Midst of Being Sued for Crimes Against Humanity, Scott Lively Announces Gubernatorial Campaign
Scott Lively, who is currently being sued for Crimes Against Humanity in Uganda by the Center for Constitutional Rights on behalf of Sexual Minorities of Uganda (SMUG) over his involvement in the creation of the Anti-Homosexuality “Kill the Gays” legislation in Uganda, announced on September 30, after much speculation, that he plans to run for governor of Massachusetts as an independent. Addressing his chances of winning, Lively states that “it would take a miracle from God for Scott Lively to become Governor of Massachusetts—and I wouldn’t want it any other way.” On September 23, Lively released a statement expressing his disappointment that a federal judge “denied my motion to allow me to appeal his denial of my Motion to Dismiss the outrageous SMUG lawsuit.” Lively claims that he is “just a pawn in this international power play.”
IOC Officially Demurs On Russia’s Anti-“Propaganda” Law
The International Olympic Committee released their official statement on the Games in Sochi after an international outcry over Russia’s anti-gay anti-“propaganda” law. The statement comes out in favor of “human rights”, and goes on to say that “this legislation has just been passed into law and it remains to be seen whether and how it will be implemented, particularly as regards the games in Sochi…To that end, the IOC has received assurance from the highest level of government in Russia that the legislation will not affect those attending or taking part in the Games.” President Putin has already banned protests at the Games in Sochi and has ordered to strictly restrict access to the city during the Games, suggesting that he believes he can assure conflict-free Games by engineering an environment that makes protest impossible. For more information on the anti-propaganda law, Human Rights First has released this report: http://www.humanrightsfirst.org/uploads/pdfs/HRF-russias-anti-gay-ban-SG.pdf
Brian Brown Can’t Speak Russian, But His Anti-Gay Rhetoric Transcends Language
According to a new report by RightWingWatch, in June, days after Russia passed its anti-“propaganda” law, NOM president Brian Brown attended a Duma committee on family, women, and children to discuss, among other things, Russia’s plan for adoption by same-sex couples. Promoting the idea that gay marriage and adoption by gay couples are “indivisible” issues, Brown stated, “Every child should have the right to have normal parents: a father and a mother” (translated from Russian). Five days after Brown’s trip, the Duma passed a bill banning the adoption of Russian children by foreign same-sex couples. Russia is now considering a bill that would deny parents custody of their own biological children if they identify as gay. The law will be under consideration in February, possibly coinciding with the Sochi Olympic Games.
PRA Sponsors Two Screenings of God Loves Uganda
This week PRA sponsored two screenings of Roger Ross Williams’ documentary God Loves Uganda, one in Boston and another in Chicago. In an interview with PRA, Williams explains that he decided to focus on American evangelicalism in Uganda after a bill that would make homosexuality punishable by death was introduced in Parliament there in 2009. His research for the movie began with Globalizing the Culture Wars, a report published by PRA. The film includes interviews with Scott Lively, Lou Engle, Martin Ssempa, and young IHOP missionaries in Uganda. If you would like to find a screening or sponsor one in your area, follow this link: http://www.godlovesuganda.com/.
Political Research Associates Launches New Webpage Exposing Link Between American Conservatives and Anti-Gay Sentiment in Africa
The Boston-based national social justice think tank is pushing to further expose the direct links between American conservatives, especially evangelical ministers, and anti-gay sentiment, legislation, and violence across the continent of Africa. The page includes their full investigative reports, videos, supporting articles, and full profiles of the key players on the right.