HRC Blog

Speaker Boehner Brings Hate-Peddlers to Capitol Hill

Buzzfeed reports that House Speaker John Boehner today secured meeting space for the top American supporters of Russia’s anti-LGBT laws. The news comes after Sen. Mark Kirk withdrew their original meeting space with a spokesperson saying, “Senator Kirk will not host groups that advance a hateful agenda.” The World Congress of Families – which sent nearly a dozen anti-LGBT American activists to Russia to support these heinous laws – used today’s event to promote using Russia’s anti-gay laws as a model for the U.S.

Human Rights Campaign (HRC) President Chad Griffin issued the following statement:

"Speaker Boehner's embrace of these ambassadors of hate is shameful and despicable. These individuals have supported the subhuman treatment of LGBT people around the world, and now they want to do the same here. The fact that the Speaker would welcome a panelist who praised Uganda’s proposal to sentence gay people to death should shock the conscience of all Americans.”

The roundtable discussion, hosted by the World Congress of Families, is entitled “Family Policy Lessons from Other Lands: What Should America Learn?” The event is presented in innocent-sounding language, but the biographies of the participants reveal their malicious intent.

Three of the four panelists, Austin Ruse, Allan Carlson, and Steven Mosher, have traveled to Russia to meet with other anti-LGBT leaders during critical stages of Russia’s recent anti-LGBT crackdown. The fourth panelist, Janice Crouse, celebrated a proposed law in Uganda that would make being LGBT punishable by death. Crouse called it a, “biblical and cultural stand against the radical homosexual agenda.” For more on the panelists see this background document.

With the help of rogue American activists like those on this panel, Russia continues to demonize and harass its LGBT community.

In June, Russia enacted an "anti-propaganda" law that outlaws even modest public gestures of support of the LGBT community. Foreigners breaking this law, such as those visiting Russia for the 2014 Sochi Olympic Games, face arrest for up to 15 days followed by deportation.

Russia also enacted a law this summer that prohibits LGBT Russians from adopting children and prohibits adoptions by single foreigners from countries that recognize marriage equality. In September, an even more draconian piece of legislation was proposed that would allow courts to take children away from parents who are LGBT or are suspected of being LGBT.

This state-sanctioned homophobia and transphobia contributes to a culture of violence and harassment against the Russian LGBT community that goes unchecked by law enforcement. Just last week, two masked men with a gun and bat broke into the screening of an LGBT film in St. Petersburg. Several individuals were attacked—two had to be sent to the hospital, one of whom was shot in the eye.

For more information on these laws, and for updates as the situation in Russia develops, click here.

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