The World Congress of Families says its goal is to “defend the family and to guide public policy and cultural norms.”
A new report has highlighted the hateful activities of the World Congress of Families (WCF), described as a group of American extremists exporting anti-LGBT bigotry around the world, influencing anti-gay laws in Africa and Russia.
On Monday, The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), America’s largest LGBT rights organisation, released a new report that claims to expose “one of the most influential groups in America promoting and coordinating the exportation of anti-LGBT bigotry, ideology, and legislation abroad.”
According to the HRC, the Rockford, Illinois-based WCF has organised large international “pro-family” conventions “that bring together the most fringe activists engaged in anti-LGBT extremism since 1997.”
Ty Cobb, HRC Foundation’s Director of Global Engagement, said that, “The World Congress of Families coordinates a dangerous group of activists spreading anti-LGBT rhetoric and promoting laws and policies that criminalise LGBT people and the speech of those who support them.
“They praise Vladimir Putin as the standard-bearer for traditional ‘family values’ and honoured a Nigerian activist who claims LGBT advocates conspire with the terrorist group Boko Haram with a ‘Woman of the Year’ award. Their advocacy abroad harms LGBT people from Russia to Nigeria and beyond,” added Cobb.
Uganda, Russia, and Nigeria have enacted horrific anti-LGBT laws within the past year, and LGBT people in those countries have suffered vicious and violent backlashes. The HRC said that WCF and its affiliates are connected to anti-LGBT advocacy in each of the three countries, among many others.
The notorious US Pastor Scott Lively, a WCF affiliate, is reported to have traveled repeatedly to Uganda claiming that LGBT people are responsible for the Holocaust, the Rwandan genocide and the spread of HIV/AIDS. Some Ugandan officials credit Lively with the idea of introducing new legislation to further criminalise homosexuality in the country, and prominent Ugandan LGBT activists say the “bill is essentially his creation,” claims the report.
WCF is also accused of forcefully advocating for the draconian Russian “gay propaganda law”. It reportedly met with the law’s author in the Russian Duma, and released a public letter in support of the measure. WCF has also repeatedly hosted events in Nigeria with “pro-family” activists from Nigeria and elsewhere in Africa.
“This organisation and their affiliates’ global advocacy have corresponded with a dangerous rise in anti-LGBT laws, discrimination, and even violence around the world,” said Cobb. He urged “all fair-minded Americans to reject the World Congress of Families and their exportation of anti-LGBT hate.”
The report comes amid news that plans for WCF’s 2014 annual conference in Melbourne, Australia is in chaos after four venues refused to host the event. Organisers say that the fear of protests and demonstrations have led to the cancellations.
The event was expected to see hundreds of anti-gay and pro-abortion conservatives converge on the city. The organisation announced last month that the next year’s annual international convention will take place in Salt Lake City, making it the first to be hosted on American soil.