Post submitted by Kerry Brodie, former HRC Global Press Secretary
At a conference where speakers have compared LGBT rights to terrorism, called LGBT people pedophiles and warned that LGBT rights would lead to cyborgs taking over humanity, a familiar name has been spotted.
Ben Carson’s PAC is formally partnering with the World Congress of Families (WCF) IX conference this week, bringing together thousands of anti-LGBT activists from all over the world to Salt Lake City.
As reported in the Daily Beast, “The 2016 Committee, a Super PAC which raised over $5 million for Ben Carson in the first half of 2015 alone, dropped in to visit an international conference of one of the most extreme anti-LGBT groups on the planet.”
The World Congress of Families works closely with a dangerous group of activists spreading anti-LGBT rhetoric and promoting laws and policies that criminalize LGBT people and the speech of those who support them. HRC’s report on the group, Exposed: The World Congress of Families, made clear that the organization and many of its affiliates are laser-focused on promoting policies and rhetoric that put LGBT people and their families at incredible risk. In 2013, WCF forcefully advocated for the draconian anti-LGBT Russian “anti-propaganda law”-- which sanctions individuals and organizations that advocate on behalf of LGBT people -- met with the law’s author in the Russian Duma, and released a public letter in support of the measure.
Active across five continents, WCF has organized large international “pro-family” conventions that bring together a wide range of vehemently anti-LGBT activists. WCF’s activities range from holding conferences in Nigeria focused on denying rights to LGBT people to working to silence the Russian LGBT community.
On the schedule for this week are speakers like Nigeria’s Theresa Okafor, who has compared LGBT people to the terrorist group Boko Haram and supported a law banning LGBT people from meeting in groups. Conference attendees will also hear from Sharon Slater, the president and founder of Family Watch International, who has described LGBT equality as "inherently destructive.” Family Research Council’s Peter Sprigg, who believes that homosexuality should be a criminal offense and would prefer to deport LGBT Americans from the United States than allow any LGBT immigrants to come to our country, will also be speaking.
As part of its larger effort to call out WCF and its allies for their nefarious activities, 14,000 HRC members signed their names to a two-page advertisement in Sunday’s Salt Lake Tribune. HRC also sponsored the Inclusive Families Conference in Salt Lake City in advance of the conference, which gathered local leaders, citizens, and advocates and promoted a positive vision of LGBT people and their families. On Monday, HRC gathered local advocates and international witnesses of the exportation of anti-LGBT venom abroad in a press conference inside the Utah State Capitol. HRC also hosted a screening of Hunted: Gay and Afraid, a brand-new documentary that shows in vivid detail both the efforts and impact of WCF’s advocacy abroad.
To learn more about what HRC is doing to combat the hateful World Congress of Families, visit hrc.org/worldcongressoffamilies