09.15.14

Frontiers LA: Rep. Adam Schiff Questions NOM's Patriotism

Karen Ocamb reports on Congressman Schiff and the National Organization for Marriage

Rep. Adam Schiff has been urging the Obama administration and the State Department to develop a global strategy to advance LGBT rights for a long time.  But on Sunday, he went so far as to question the patriotism of anti-gay religious leaders such as Brian Brown, the President of the National Organization for Marriage, who seem to place their own ideology over the best interests of America.

Told that Brown had attended a forum in Moscow despite forum sponsors (billionaire Vladimir Yakunin, a senior advisor to Russian President Vladimir Putin and the forum’s funder and parliament member Elena Mizulina) being on the Treasury Department’s list of sanctioned individuals, Schiff said:

“I think it’s awful and whether it’s people going to Russia to help propagate these discriminatory laws that are increasing in places like Russia and East Europe and Africa or whether it’s some of our captains of industry that are going to Moscow and trying to seize of business opportunities like this. It really calls into question their commitment to our country and its ideals. So I think it’s horribly counter-productive and only a further incentive to the belligerent, dangerous, backward policies of Putin and his cronies.”

Schiff’s comments come a day before the Human Rights Campaign released a major expose entitled “Global Advocacy of American Anti-LGBT Extremists Exposed,”  HRC opens the report saying:

There is a network of American extremists who work tirelessly to undercut LGBT people around the world at every turn. They spew venomous rhetoric, outrageous theories, and discredited science. Some claim that LGBT people are responsible for the Holocaust, the Rwandan genocide, and the spread of HIV/AIDS. Others argue that LGBT people are luring away children, and that acceptance of LGBT people will lead to the destruction of families around the world. Some even suggest that the death penalty could be an appropriate punishment for simply being LGBT.

Last October, Fred Karger of “Rights Equal Rights” wrote Sec. of State John Kerry  and Attorney General Eric Holder asking that they investigate whether  Brown violated the Logan Act, a “federal statute making it a crime for a citizen to confer with foreign governments” against US interests. Karger notes that Brown testified before Russian Duma officials—including a subcommittee chaired by Mizulina, who then helped write the anti-gay propaganda and adoption laws—and asks in Brown did so without prior authorization of the US government.

Karger has not yet received a reply.

Schiff—who received the Ally in Equality Award from Stonewall Young Democrats on Sept. 13—was among those who called on President Obama to talk about anti-homosexuality laws during the African Leaders Summit.  Some thought the prospect of bringing American economic development and other business dealings into their countries might serves as a kind of Trojan Horse to getting the anti-LGBT leaders to change their positions.

Interestingly, that such a change might be underway—though with no apparent awareness of contradiction. Uganda tourism officials, for instance, say they welcome gay tourists despite their harsh laws against homosexuality.

Schiff thinks the criteria for American investment in other countries should include non-discrimination laws. He said:

"I definitely think it should be a factor and if you look at the Millennium Challenge Corporation—it evaluates levels of corruption and whatnot in terms of whether a country is a suitable candidate for investment. I think we also ought to look at their progress towards equality and if they’re moving backward, to me, they’re not a great place for investment. And that might be a good and powerful and yet subtle way to say we’re prioritizing non-discrimination and we’re going to take into consideration anywhere we put our money.

I’ll have to check to see if that’s anything our development agencies are pursuing in that way.”

Schiff sits on the Appropriations Committee and the Foreign Operations Subcommittee, where he said he would “absolutely” raise the issue of including non-discrimination against LGBT people as a criteria for American investment.

To read the full article, please click here.


By:  Karen Ocamb
Source: Frontiers LA