This weekend, three different forums put a focus on the export of homophobia. Take a look and share widely, so others understand the connection between US-based anti-LGBT activists and draconian laws popping up in countries around the world.While much of the focus has been on anti-LGBT laws in countries like Uganda, Nigeria, and Russia, many LGBT advocates are bringing attention to the source of these laws: anti-LGBT activists based in the United States. Below you'll see several anti-LGBT activists who are a part of GLAAD's Commentator Accountability Project, including Scott Lively and Lou Engle.
Mark Fiore, a political cartoonist and former staff cartoonist at the San Jose Mercury News has produced a cartoon, noting that the same anti-LGBT activists who laid the groundwork for anti-LGBT laws overseas are now carefully distancing themselves from the violence, long-term prison sentences (life in prison, in some cases), and attacks on parents, clergy, and health care providers. Take a look:
At the same time, Rev. Dr. Kapya Kaoma, published an op-ed in the Los Angeles Times titled, "How anti-gay Christians evangelize hate abroad." In it, he explains to the US public that these draconian anti-LGBT laws were not created in a vacuum, but fostered and cultivated by years of deliberate action by some of the same anti-LGBT leaders named in the above video.
In recent years, millions of dollars have been funneled from anti-LGBTQ evangelical conservatives to Uganda, funding local pastors and training them to adopt and mirror the culture-war language of the U.S. Christian right. Bahati and a notorious anti-gay pastor, Martin Ssempa, were personally mentored by U.S. conservatives. And powerful Christian right organizations such as the Family Research Council lobbied Congress to change a resolution denouncing the Uganda legislation.
Other prominent right-wing evangelicals have also made Uganda appearances, including California's Rick Warren and Lou Engle, who founded TheCall ministry. They met with politicians, hosted rallies and public meetings, and used their influence and credibility to contribute to a culture war in Uganda much more intense and explosive than anything seen in the United States; Lively himself described the work as a "nuclear bomb" in Uganda. These conservative evangelicals later distanced themselves from the law, saying they didn't think homosexuality should be criminalized, but it was too late.
In December, the Ugandan parliament finally passed the Anti-Homosexuality Bill, and last month President Yoweri Museveni signed it into law. The death penalty provision was removed, but the law includes life sentences for homosexual "repeat offenders" and criminalizes advocacy on behalf of LGBTQ Ugandans.
Uganda has deservedly received widespread attention, but it's not the only country with a culture war that carries the fingerprints of U.S. campaigners. Nigeria has passed a bill almost identical to Uganda's, and Cameroon and Zambia are enthusiastically imprisoning LGBTQ people.
And let's not forget Russia.
And Vice President Joe Biden also spoke out about anti-LGBT violence at his appearance at a Human Rights Campaign event in Los Angeles. The Advocate reports:
"I've traveled to most countries in the world, and I can tell you they are looking to us as an example as a champion of LGBT rights everywhere," Biden said, noting that almost more than half the countries in the United Nations still make it a crime to be gay, and some still make it punishable by death.
Biden specifically called out Uganda for its jail-the-gays law for so-called aggravated homosexuality, "Whatever the hell that is," Biden said in an aside. "There are some sick people in the world."
He said Russia is disrespecting the rights of its citizens and so it's no surprise it is disrespecting the rights of its neighbors in Ukraine, and Biden was outraged by those places in Africa where corrective rape for lesbians is still practiced.
"Corrective rape? What in God's name are we talking about?" Biden bellowed. "How can a country that speaks in those terms be remotely considered to be a civil society?"
Biden said that while the United States must lead, winning shouldn't be considered a signal of American influence but of the value of human rights.
You can see his comments in the video below (Biden's remarks begin at the 35:00 mark)