Welcome to the last post of the three part series on American far right anti-gay groups and how they’ve been exporting their homophobia (and misogyny, and other far-right causes) all over the globe.
As I closed in the last post, in criminal law, motive, means, and opportunity summarize what needs to be proven before guilt of a crime can be established.
In Part 1 of this series, we established motive: The desire for far-right social conservative groups here in America to export their anti-gay agenda throughout the world, and how the World Congress of Families (WCF) has been coordinating these efforts.
In Part 2, we explored the means: Funding and support provided by these right wing extremist groups so that Regnerus (and Marks) could manufacture deeply flawed results and false conclusions — then whitewash these papers through a badly compromised scientific journal publication system.
In Part 3, we’ll look at opportunity. Now they have a number of well-funded far right anti-gay organizations in the United States working in a coordinated fashion and a purportedly “legitimate” scientific study or two in hand. We”ll see how they have put these into action, to take the homophobia and lies they haven’t been able to peddle very successfully here in America lately and instead export them abroad.
Exporting homophobia — WCF & NOM style
We now know the top names:
Robert George: Former Democrat turned Reagan Republican. Co-founder and former chairman of the National Organization for Marriage (NOM). Lined up the money through his membership in both the Witherspoon Institute and Bradley Foundation for the discredited quack-science Regnerus study, the one that without studying more than two actual ‘gay parented’ families, concluded that gays are sh*tty parents and a danger to the children they raise.
Allan Carlson: Founder of the World Congress of Families, the “uber-group” for anti-gay intolerance and anti-gay lobbying worldwide. He’s a former Reagan “National Commission on Children” appointee (serving until 1993), and a long-time religious right activist. He’s also president of the Howard Center for Family, Religion, and Society (anti-gay marriage, mainly, but also anti-feminist) — in fact, that’s why ‘The Howard Center’ is featured prominently on the WCF logo.
Maggie Gallagher: Co-founder of NOM, and former president of the organization, but still heavily involved with it. She was consulted for Regnerus study.
W. Bradford Wilcox: Director of the ‘National Marriage Project’ at the University of Virginia. He’s written tons of books and articles on marriage and family. Along with Robert George, he helped funnel the money for the Regnerus study through the Witherspoon Institute, where he used to be a member fellow (until the Regnerus debacle). And by no coincidence at all, he happened both to be assigned as a peer-reviewer for the Regnerus study article and an editorial board member for Social Science Research — the journal in which the Regnerus study was published. Wilcox reportedly urged Regnerus finish his article early enough to try to influence the Supreme Court, which was deliberating on the DOMA case. He was also a keynote speaker during the WCF convention in Sydney this year.
James Wright: Chief editor for Social Science Research, the journal in which the Regnerus study appeared. By most of the accounts I was able to uncover, he appears to have been somewhat of a patsy in all this, but also acting out of greed and self-interest. It’s been suggested he ran the paper mainly because he knew it would raise his journal’s “impact rating” — which is a constant high-pressure demand of Elsevier, his publisher.
Mark Regnerus and Loren Marks: Associate professors with anti-gay agendas and a willingness to engage in science research malpractice, as determined by numerous experts in their own fields of study.
Brian Brown: Current president of NOM, which considers itself a partner group of the WCF. Let’s take a look at what he’s been up to. What is his avenue of “opportunity” in this?
NOM’s Mr. Brown goes to Russia
Gee, what a shocker. In Part 2 of Ms. Blue’s RightWingWatch post, she reveals just how much Brian Brown has been involved in both the French and Russian anti-gay movements.
Earlier this year, Brown traveled to Paris to demonstrate against France’s new marriage equality law, and wrote a public letter of support which referred to gay marriage rights as “revisionist marriage.” Given this, it should come as no surprise that his appearance before the Russian committees included far-right French anti-gay activists as well. They and Brown attended two joint Duma committee meetings.
The first meeting was with the foreign affairs committee, which was working on a bill to change Russia’s foreign adoption laws, ultimately resulting in a ban on adoptions by gay couples and by single parents in countries that recognize legal same sex marriage.
Now it seems that NOM doesn’t especially want us here in America to hear what they’ve been up to overseas, but fortunately there are plenty of public records. And a YouTube video (h/t RightWingWatch) of Brown’s comments after the adoption policy hearings.
Brian Brown said:
“Right now you’re having the fight about adoption, but the adoption issue is indivisible from the marriage issue. If you don’t defend your values now, I’m afraid we’re going to see very negative developments all over the world.”
In his remarks to the committee, Brown referred to children as having a “right to have ‘normal’ parents.” And in classic victimization behavior, he also had this to say (note: this was translated from his English into Russian over there, and then back by RightWingWatch):
“But we are now convinced, having heard the presentations of our French brothers and sisters, that we are talking about very serious problems indeed. We are talking about violations of rights, we are talking about the rights and problems of children in their education. We should not shy away from this and should not forget about it and create an illusion for ourselves. A reconsideration of the definition and understanding of marriage is in fact a real threat to rights.
Very soon after a law was passed that legalized same-sex marriage in the state of Massachusetts, we saw that religious organizations were closing down, religious organizations that dealt with adoptions and that did not support adoption by same-sex families. They were closing one after another.
We have actually seen that in some schools, they are talking to children about homosexuality, but in fact they don’t have the right to learn about a lot of things like that until a certain age.”
Really, it was the Catholic Church’s decision to shut down their adoption services because they chose that option rather than to follow the law. If obeying secular law is a problem, then a religious organization has no business running adoption services — or anything else touching on the secular sphere — in the first place.
Brown then testified before a second Duma committee, the one on family, women and children, and whose chair is Yelena Mizulina, member of the Russian legislature, who helped write both the laws banning pro-gay ‘propaganda’ and adoption.
Following the committee meetings was a roundtable, “Traditional Values: The Future of the European Peoples,” hosted by the St. Basil the Great Foundation (a far-right Catholic group), and sponsored by the Mizulina’s family committee, the Center for Social-Conservative Policy, and other right-wing Duma members.
By the way, Poor Brian may find himself in a bit of a legal pickle, according to a report in Towleroad. You see, it’s not always legal for U.S. citizens to lobby foreign governments. The Logan act is a “federal statute making it a crime for a citizen to confer with foreign governments against the interests of the United States.” Fred Karger of “Rights Equal Rights” has written Secretary of State John Kerry asking him to look into the matter. In addition to the adoption angle, Karger is suggesting that Brown’s actions could put LGBT travelers from America at risk when visiting Russia.
NOM’s Brian Brown wasn’t alone in his condemnation of gay people
Other speakers before the Russian committees and subsequent round-table discussions, many of whom have been in contact and coordinating with WCF were less circumspect in their apocalyptic rhetoric.
Aymeric Chauprade absolutely gushed about Russia’s new anti-gay laws. Fabrice Sorlin invoked Nazi fascists and Mongol hordes. Francois Legrois, the head of Mouvement Catholique des Familles, referred to homosexuality as “moral suicide.”
Meanwhile, the Krazy Kristian contingent had to toss in their two rubles. Russian Orthodox Church Archpriest Dmitri Smirnov said that it was a “wealthy minority” supporting LGBT rights, adding that the gay rights movement, “…is acting with undeclared motives that cannot be explained other than by Satanism.”
As for Konstantin Malofeev, head of the St. Basil the Great Foundation (and founder of the Marshall Capital Partners investment fund), he spoke at last year’s WCF conference in Sydney where, according to one attendee, he said, “Now Christian Russia can help liberate the West from the new liberal anti-Christian totalitarianism of political correctness, gender ideology, mass-media censorship and neo-Marxist dogma.”
(Wow, capitalism and religiously-motivated anti-gay hate — who’d have ever thought they’d go together like moldy chocolate and rancid peanut butter?)
Malofeev’s foundation has close ties to the Russian Orthodox Church, by the way. Speaking at the roundtable, he said that homosexuality literally is a threat to the survival of the human race:
“Against the backdrop of what is going on in France and other countries, we are seeing the degradation of civilization. We can even use the term ‘anticivilization,’ and this anticivilization is progressing. Things are happening that will lead to the physical extinction of humans.“
(Emphasis added…as if his hyperbole even needs it.)
Still another speaker at the roundtable was Jack Hanick, former senior Fox News Producer (he claims to be one of the founders of the network, but Fox denies this) and yet another featured speaker at the World Congress of Families in Sydney.
He said he believed that God himself had called upon Russia to “stand up for traditional values.” He would later add that he admired Russia’s increasingly theocratic state. Hanick reportedly said, “In Russia the issue of separation of church and state, obviously, is much less of an issue, and I see this as a positive thing.”
Russia’s government is quite receptive to the WCF/NOM anti-gay message of hate
Mizulina couldn’t have been more proud at what she’d been told:
“You heard what our French colleagues said: That today the whole world is looking at Russia, with hope that Russia will hold fast and not give in to this unusual pressure from European governments and will conserve its own traditional family identity. It’s perfectly clear that Europe today, faced by the collision of two very serious values—the right of children to a family and the right of sexual minorities to a family—is making its choice in favor of sexual minorities.“
And she had this to say about the Regnerus study:
“At the same time, the American scholar Mark Regnerus, who carried out an extensive study over the course of one and a half years of 3,000 people who had been raised in same-sex families, showed the opposite, and the data are absolutely stunning, they are published. They called for him to be fired from the university in Texas [where he worked]. An independent assessment was ordered, an independent commission, who totally confirmed the scientific validity of the study’s representativeness and the reliability of its conclusions.”
Sadly, nearly every word of what she said about the study was either untrue or inaccurate. There were only two individuals who were raised from childhood to age 18 in a lesbian family with two mothers. Only “several” according to Mark Regnerus who were in a gay or lesbian family for 10 years or more. And only 19 total who were in such a family arrangement for at least three years. And in fact, the scientific validity of the Regnerus study has been just about completely dismissed by reputable researchers.
Yelena Mizulina went on to claim that gay parents teach their children to be gay, in the same way an alcoholic or tobacco user teaches their kids to acquire the same ‘bad habit.’
“Gays recruit” has always been the message of the anti-gay homophobes, who simply will not accept the established — and reputable — scientific research that has concluded sexual orientation is not learned or indoctrinated, nor the result of childhood molestation.
Within days of the round-table, Russia enacted its ban on adoption by gay couples and to single people living in countries that recognize same sex marriage. Homophobia and irrational anti-gay bigotry wins again.
Russia uses Regnerus to justify turning kids into orphans
When Alexei Zhuravlev (member of Russia’s Duma and spare-time James Bond villain) recently introduced his new bill intending to seize children of openly gay parents, and throw those kids into orphanages, it had language lifted almost word for word (translated into Russian of course) from the Regnerus study.
In a note Zhuravlev included with his bill, he asserted, “Harm that could be inflicted on a child’s mental health in case of their parents’ homosexual contacts is immense” — and directly cited the Regnerus study findings, by name. He also repeated the slander that gays are inherently pedophiles.
When he was asked if a single mother happens to be gay, was it necessary to take her child from her, he answered (and feel free to insert the evil laugh wherever you think is most appropriate):
“Of course she should definitely be deprived of her rights to the child,’ (Zhuravlev) said. ‘Homosexuals must not raise children. They corrupt them. They do them much more harm than if the child were in an orphanage. I am deeply convinced of this.’”
Mark Regnerus finally responds
Interestingly, it would seem that Mark Regnerus has a smidge of conscience:
When word began to spread that Regnerus’ study was playing a key role in the Russian anti-gay movement, Regnerus backtracked, saying that the Russian effort to remove children from biological parents who are gay or lesbian was a “misuse” of his research.
Really, Mark? You link drug and alcohol abuse, STDs, lousy grades, behavioral problems, depression, suicide, and child sexual abuse to having gay parents (even when those parents aren’t actually gay, but just messed up individuals). Then you’re surprised when others conclude it’s appropriate and urgently necessary to remove children from gay families. What else did you expect?
So how does the World Congress of Families feel about anti-gay developments in Russia?
Giddy. Elated. Couldn’t be happier.
Larry Jacobs, one of the spokesmen for the WCF, while talking with ‘End Times’ radio host Rick Wiles last May (before the ‘propaganda’ ban was signed into law), had this to say:
“The Russians might be the Christian saviors to the world. At the UN, they really are the ones standing up for these traditional values of family and faith. (…)
The homosexual propaganda–the law in the Russian Duma–it passed on first reading. It would ban propaganda to minors, preventing them from corrupting children. What a great idea, and the rest of Europe is going the other way, legalizing LGBT propaganda. (…)
Everything that the far-left promotes, from homosexual marriage to radical environmentalism to a socialist/communist approach to big government, all of these things require the breakdown of the family. The family, I think it was Chesterton that said that the family is the only natural unit that reproduces itself and therefore it is always a threat to the state, it is always a threat to freedom, to totalitarianism. It promotes freedom and liberty. Wherever you see radical leftists, radical environmentalists, radical feminists and radical LGBT groups all together, it’s because they have an active agenda to break the family apart.“
These extended remarks, by the way, are what I meant at the very beginning of this post series, that the World Congress of Families isn’t just going after gays, lesbians, bisexuals and transgenders. They’re against liberal policies of any kind. They clearly are against women’s civil rights, and any other social justice or economic equality movement.
And oddly enough, I took note of those “radical environmentalists” remarks as rather revealing. What it suggests to me is we’re dealing with far right-wing extremists who aren’t afraid to throw their entire agenda up on the whiteboard. Anti-gay bigotry and lobbying is just one prong of their larger offensive.
The WCF proudly takes credit for its exported homophobia
In the last week of September 2013, a planned parade in Belgrade, Serbia was canceled. Officials cited unspecified “serious security concerns” related to right-wing opposition to the parade.
On October 2nd, the World Congress of Families took credit for the Belgrade gay pride march cancellation.
Don Feder, another WCF spokesman had this to say, “Your fight is our fight. The fight for the family is a fight for civilization. World Congress of Families and its more than 40 Partners in 16 countries is proud to stand with the Serbian people for the natural family.”
With respect to activism in Russia, the WCF isn’t ashamed to take credit there either. They’ve issued statements of support — signed with more than a hundred other gay-hating groups worldwide — for Russia’s anti-gay pogrom enabling laws, and condemned the international outcry against those laws.
The WCF is working inside Russia to advance anti-gay policies
In 2012, WCF helped found a Russia-based group called FamilyPolicy.ru, a far-right activist organization whose goal is “to build (a) highly efficient network of pan-Russian grassroots socially conservative activists, that would be able to consistently exert real influence on the family policy in Russia, at the U.N., and internationally.”
Top staffers at Familypolicy.ru are also members of the WCF, including the Familypolicy.ru president, Alexei Komov. (Komov also spoke at Belgrade, by the way, against the cancelled gay pride march.)
Another staffer, Pavel Parfentiev was appointed by the WCF to be their spokesman in Europe. Parefentiev has claimed responsibility for ‘initiating’ Russia’s current ban on adoptions by gay couples and single people in countries that have legalized same sex marriage.
When the WCF issued their statement of support for Russia’s new anti-gay laws, Komov and Parefentiev issued a follow-on press release:
“This announcement shows, despite the attempts of supporters of the interests of the so-called sexual minorities to create the opposite impression, that a huge number of people and human rights organizations around the world are supporting Russia in an effort to protect their children and their family values from aggressive immoral propaganda.”
Parefentiev then went on in his own remarks to say the anti-gay ‘propaganda’ laws are be no different than laws banning toxic chemicals in baby food.
Again, as I’ve noted, the WCF and its affiliate groups and its supports have made it abundantly clear they think what Russia is doing is great. And they’re fully behind anti-gay legislation and persecution anywhere in the world. No matter how extreme, oppressive, or vicious.
On the subject of anti-gay and anti-trans violence by the thugs in Russia, they’ve been silent, which I take as tacit approval.
What’s most revealing of all: While the gay rights activists all over the world have been protesting the choice of Russia to host the 2014 Olympics games in Sochi and the World Cup, the World Congress of Families has already chosen the location for their 2014 conference — Moscow.
They’ve even launched a website: WorldCongress.ru.
This is what we’re up against. It really isn’t just far-right American groups cheering the actions of anti-gay governments around the world — gay-hating legislators in foreign lands who decided all on their own suddenly to start passing anti-gay laws right and left.
Groups like the World Congress of Families are exporting the (metaphorical) gasoline and matches to help make it happen — exporting the homophobia — and cheering them on, with willing arsonists all over the world in positions of power.
Maybe in the end that’s what they actually have in mind, the traditional medieval penalty for being gay: To be burned alive at the stake. If someone is willing to seize a gay or lesbian person’s child and imprison that child’s parent for no other reason than being gay, I don’t think there’s any real limit to how far they’d go if allowed to do so. It’d just be a matter of time.
The vicious genocide-level homophobia being exported now to Nigeria, Uganda, Serbia, France, Russia and a whole host of other countries is being sent there with the full intention of bringing it back home, reimporting it to America one day soon.
If Konstantin Malofeev’s promise to have “Christian Russia”… “liberate the West from the new liberal anti-Christian totalitarianism of political correctness, gender ideology, mass-media censorship and neo-Marxist dogma” is any indication, I’d say that’s definitely the long-term plan.
I’ll close with a final quote from Miranda Blue’s RightWingWatch post:
“Anti-gay activists in the United States, finding it increasingly difficult to push their agenda at home, have turned to Russia both as a place receptive to their politics and as a “savior” of the world against increasing social liberalism. In doing so, they have provided international backing for an oppressive, anti-democratic regime that is increasingly using LGBT people as scapegoats for broader political dissatisfaction.
When they support the World Congress of Families and attend its events – including the upcoming conference in Moscow – American groups send the clear message about how far they are willing to go to promote anti-gay ideology.”
How far? Pretty damned far. All the way, actually.