FRC Opposes U.S. Resolution Against Ugandan ’Kill Gays’ Law
Anti-gay group The Family Research Council has been in the headlines recently, due to the organization’s co-founder, George Rekers, traveling to Europe in the company of a paid male escort hired off RentBoy.com. Rekers was a paid professional witness for the state of Florida in a suit challenging that state’s ban on gay adoptions.
In late May, the FRC also made the news with claims of gay military personnel "raping" their comrades in arms, and warning that a repeal of the anti-gay Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, a ban on openly GLBT soldiers, would lead to a rash of sexual assaults.
But the FRC is in the news once more for having reportedly hired lobbyists to sway Congressional leaders to kill a resolution condemning legislation in Uganda that would, if passed, put gays to death. According to a June 3 story at GLBT blog JoeMyGod.com, a Senate version of the resolution has already passed--but a similar resolution is stalled in the House, four months after the Congressional Foreign Affairs Committee took it up.
JoeMyGod reports that the FRC paid lobbyists $25,000 to sway members of Congress to oppose the resolution, according to the FRC’s own report.
"Did the FRC’s lobbying kill it? As we learned last week with Malawi, international pressure CAN sway even the most virulently anti-gay government," the report read. JoeMyGod.com also called for the FRC to be reclassified as a "hate group" by the Southern Poverty Law Center, which tracks radical racist and homophobic organizations.
The report noted that the FRC had also lobbied against efforts to pass the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which would extend workplace protections to GLBT Americans.
The anti-gay Ugandan legislation would steepen penalties for gays in the country, where homosexuality is already criminalized. Gays who have sex together repeatedly would be put to death under the law, as would HIV-positive gay men who have sex with other men even once. The legislation was proposed in the wake of a visit to the country by several high-profile American anti-gay evangelical leaders.
African religious leaders are also leading the way in the persecution of GLBT Ugandans, with claims that homosexuality is an "import" from Western countries that is "un-African." The president of Uganda, Yoweri Museveni, recently praised African churches for their denunciation of gays, and indicated agreement with claims that homosexuality would not exist in Africa if not for the influence of Western nations, warning that the ways of foreign societies should not be blindly emulated, reported Ugandan website The New Vision on June 3.
"The African Church is the only one that is still standing against homosexuality. The Europeans are finished. If we follow them, we shall end up in Sodom and Gomorrah," Museveni said, in a June 2 address to Christian pilgrims near Kampala. The pilgrims were there to commemorate Christian African martyrs who were put to death in 1886.
Museveni spoke of that historic event as an example of Africans resisting the introduction of gay sex into Africa by foreigners, telling the crowd, "I hear there was homosexuality in Mwanga’s palace. This was not part of our culture. I hear he learnt it from the Arabs. But the martyrs refused these falsehoods and went for the truth, which is why we are honoring them today."
Museveni went on to speak of "dehumanization of people through homosexuality," and framed homophobia as an inherent African virtue. "When [GLBT equality advocates] hear us fighting homosexuality, they think we do so because of religion," Museveni declared. "No. Even before [Christianity] came [to Africa], we were against it and many other vices."
Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Assistant Arts Editor, writing about film, theater, food and drink, and travel, as well as contributing a column. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.