Trump administration embarrasses U.S. again by appointing hate group members to U.N. women’s rights meeting

OutRight International Executive Director Jessica Stern

If anyone’s even bothering to keep score anymore, they can mark up yet another time the Trump administration has embarrassed our country in the presence of the rest of the world.

On Monday, March 13, Trump’s Department of State announced that the U.S.’s official delegation to the United Nations Commission of the Status of Women “includes representatives of two organizations known to oppose the U.N. human rights system,” according to a statement released today (Wednesday, March 15) by the international LGBT rights organization, OutRight International.

U.S. delegation members are Ambassador Nikki Haley, the U.S.’ ambassador to the U.N., who is head of the delegation; Ambassador Michele J. Sison, deputy U.S. ambassador to the U.N.; Lisa Correnti, executive vice president of the Center for Family and Human Rights; Grace Melton with The Heritage Foundation, and technical experts from the departments of State, Labor and Health and Human Services, and the U.S. Agency for International Development.

A statement from the U.S. Department of State announcing the delegation members included acknowledgment that the Commission on the Status of Women is “the most important annual meeting on women’s issues at the United Nations.” But Outright International condemned both C-FAM and The Heritage Foundation as stridently anti-equality organizations. And a report in the British newspaper The Guardian warns, “U.S. may go cheek by jowl with women’s rights abusers at U.N. gender talks.”

The newspaper notes: “Donald Trump’s reinstatement of the ‘global gag rule’ and his proposed funding cuts to the U.N. are expected to embolden right-wing conservative groups seeking to undermine women’s rights during the CSW talks … . the U.S. delegation may find itself firmly aligned with conservative countries including Iran, Sudan and Syria — among the six countries targeted in Trump’s revised travel ban.”

The Guardian quotes Shannon Kowalski, director of advocacy and policy at the International Women’s Health Coalition, as saying, “It’s very likely we will see the U.S. standing shoulder to shoulder with Russia, Iran, Egypt, Saudi Arabia, Syria and Sudan … some of the worst abusers of women’s rights around the world.”

Jessica Stern, OutRight International’s executive director, pointed out that U.S. Secretary of State Rex Tillerson and Haley have both “repeatedly pledged to uphold the right to be free from discrimination as an American value,” but suggested that including Correnti and Melton in the delegation sends a completely different message.

“Fundamentalist notions about how women and girls should behave should never be the basis of advising or negotiating U.S. foreign policy,” Stern said. “It is also a bad sign that two organizations that have tried to delegitimize the United Nations and human rights internationally now sit on the official U.S. delegation. Maybe the violent mentality that got C-Fam labeled as a hate group successfully p/anders to their base, but the U.S. government must ensure protection for the world’s most vulnerable people.”

According to OutRight, C-FAM regularly posts “homophobic vitriol” on its website, has called for the criminalization of homosexuality and “has even espoused violence.” C-FAM President Austin Ruse has reportedly said the U.S. should have laws criminalizing “homosexual behavior” because even if they aren’t enforced, such laws “would help society to teach what is good, and also would prevent such truly harmful practices as homosexual marriage and adoption.”

Ruse has also claimed that “the homosexual lifestyle is harmful to public health and morals” and in a 2014 interview said he wanted his children to attend private colleges “to keep them so far away from the hard left, human-hating people that run modern universities, who should all be taken out and shot.”

The Southern Poverty Law Center has listed C-FAM as a hate group since 2014.

OutRight also said that The Heritage Foundation and “its sister organizations [have] at least 11 past employees now working in the Trump administration” and that the Heritage Foundation “has provided much of the domestic and foreign policy blueprint the Trump administration used in its first days in office.”

The Heritage Foundation has called for a cut in funding to programs fighting violence against women, calling such programs a “misuse of federal resources and a distraction from concerns that are truly the province of the federal government.”

OutRight said The Heritage Foundation “continually purports that anti-discrimination laws inclusive of sexual orientation and gender identity are unjustified” and that such laws “grant special privileges” to LGBT people. The organization also “steadfastly rallies against the rights of transgender people,” OutRight said.

Stern continued, “Practically speaking, the U.S. should support CSW conclusions that condemn discrimination on any basis, support family diversity, and support the full range of conditions that enable women’s economic empowerment, including comprehensive family planning. While these ideas might seem like a leap of faith after the appointment of these organizations, these positions are the logical application of the principle of non-discrimination.

“Human rights are based on indivisibility, which also means that the U.S. cannot credibly support non-discrimination for LGBTI people while opposing family planning,” she said. “Women’s rights, reproductive choice, LGBTI rights, climate justice and the strength of the international human rights system all go hand-in-hand.

“The same groups advocating against women’s rights, immigrants, Muslims, the Affordable Care Act and LGBTI rights in the U.S. are taking these views to the international stage,” Stern said. “What the U.S. says about women from around the world at the CSW will be a sign of things to come for American women … . Domestic and foreign policy are two sides of the same coin.”


—  Tammye Nash

Parker expected to win re-election in Houston

With lesbian mayor at the top of the ballot, 4 LGBTS among candidates for seats on City Council




Daniel Williams  |  Contributing Writer

Houston Mayor Annise Parker, who’s 2009 election made her the first out LGBT mayor of a major American city, faces five challengers in her bid for re-election on Nov. 8, and more than one of those challengers brings a decidedly anti-gay record to the race.

Most prominent among the anti-gay candidates is Dave Wilson, who is infamous for his decades-long efforts to roll back advancements for LGBT Houstonians.

In recent weeks, the Wilson campaign has launched robocalls attacking Parker, as Wilson claims, using her position to advance her “alternative lifestyle.”

Also in the race are perennial socialist candidate Amanda Ulman, little-knowns Kevin Simms and Jack O’Conner, and Fernando Herrera.

Last year Herrera ran as the Republican candidate for Texas House District 148 against Democrat Rep. Jessica Farrar. During that race Herrera responded to a questionnaire from the right-wing think tank The Heritage Foundation with a statement that he opposed allowing same-sex couples to adopt or be foster parents.

A poll of 748 likely voters, published by television station KHOU-Houston on Oct. 17, shows Parker with a commanding lead, with 37 percent of the respondents saying they intended to vote for her. Most pundits expect the incumbent to win re-election handily.

Her five challengers split 11 percent.

But the big winner in the poll was “Do Not Know,” the option that pulled in more than 50 percent, reflecting the disinterest most Houstonians appear have towards the race.

Council elections

Houston has a 16-member city council, made up of 11 members representing districts assigned letters A-K, and five at-large positions. All 16 council members are up for election, as is the city controller, the position Parker held before being elected mayor.

Incumbent City Controller Ronald Green is unopposed.

The lack of a real contest in the mayoral race has driven voter participation down 20 percent from the last municipal elections in 2009, sending candidates scurrying for every available vote.

With Parker at the top of the ticket, several LGBT candidates are among those vying for a seat at the council table.

In at-large position 2, transgender candidate Jenifer Rene Poole and gay candidate Bolivar “Bo” Fraga are among the crowded field of 10 jockeying for position in the race.

Poole has the support of the Houston GLBT Political Caucus, the Houston Stonewall Democrats and the Houston Young Stonewall Democrats, while Fraga has the endorsement by the term-limited position incumbent, lesbian political veteran Sue Lovell.

Other position 2 candidates are Eric Dick, Elizabeth Perez, David Robinson, Kristi Thibaut, Griff Griffin, Rozzy Shorter, Andrew Burks and Gordon Goss.

In District C, gay candidate Josh Verde is one in a field of five contenders, including former state Rep. Ellen Cohen, who has the backing of the GLBT Political Caucus and Stonewall.

Other District C candidates are Brian Cweren, Karen Derr and Joshua Verde.

Gay candidate Mike Laster enjoys the endorsement of the Gay and Lesbian Victory Fund, the GLBT Political Caucus and both Stonewall clubs in his District J race. Laster has handily outstripped his two rivals — Rodrigo Canedo and Criselda Romero — in both fundraising and endorsements, but the race remains highly contested.

This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition November 4, 2011.

—  Kevin Thomas

Log Cabin Republicans share the Hilton Anatole with the right-wing Heritage Foundation

A recorded message from Dallas GOP Congressman Pete Sessions is played during the Log Cabin Republicans National Convention earlier today. More pics after the jump.

It was an interesting scene over at the Hilton Anatole today. Downstairs in the massive Atrium, where I found myself lost at least once, a conservative D.C.-based think tank called the Heritage Foundation was hosting a convention featuring tables sponsored by groups like the “Alliance for School Choice” and “Online for Life.”

Meanwhile, upstairs on the mezzanine in smaller conference rooms, the gay GOP group Log Cabin Republicans was quietly holding its National Convention. And when Dallas GOP Congressman Pete Sessions creepily appeared on the projector to deliver a recorded welcome message during Log Cabin’s lunch program, I couldn’t help but wonder if I might be in the wrong room.

After all, though, these two groups would probably agree on a lot of issues — limited government, strong national defense, etc. They just happen to disagree on one rather big one — the gays — and ultimately I guess that’s what Log Cabin is all about.

“There are a lot of Republican legislators who believe like we do,” GOP Maryland Sen. Allan H. Kittleman, who’s straight, told Log Cabin during the lunch program. “We just have to convince them it’s OK. They’re scared.”

—  John Wright

No GOProud at next year’s CPAC

HARDY HABERMAN  |  Dungeon Diary

There is a surprise! Not really.

GOProud, the allegedly gay Republican organization whose involvement with the Conservative Political Action Committee (CPAC) conference stirred up so much anger among the right-wing they are politely being asked to not come back. GOProud’s presence atthe conference was enough to make a few very large participants stay away. Those include, Heritage Foundation, Concerned Women for America, Media Research Center and the hate group, Family Research Council.

Apparently the CPAC cannot afford to alienate these major players in their activities, so the gays get thrown under the Republican bus. Again, I have to wonder why the hell a group who is plainly not welcome and whose very existence goes against some of the GOP platform planks calls itself Republican? The degree of self-loathing of the GOProud folks is apparently limitless. For example, GOProud volunteer Matt Hissey is quoted in the above video saying, “I don’t really like gay people.” Nice!

—  admin

Gov. Rick Perry won’t join anti-gay boycott of CPAC — in fact, he’ll be a keynote speaker

Gov. Rick Perry

As we’ve mentioned before, Texas Gov. Rick Perry has apparently opted not to join the growing anti-gay boycott of this year’s “Republican Woodstock” — the annual Conservative Political Action Conference next week.

In fact, according to the Dallas Morning News, Perry has landed a keynote speaking slot at CPAC, where he may be rubbing elbows with people like Lt. Dan Choi. (Note that the first and only comment below the DMN post is this: “Why no mention of the speakers not coming to CPAC this year because of the presence of Gay Republicans?”)

Lawmakers boycotting CPAC this year over the inclusion of the gay Republican group GOProud include Sen. Jim DeMint, R-S.C., and Rep. Jim Jordan, R-Ohio. And the boycott is being led by some of Perry’s favorite groups — such as the Family Research Council and the Heritage Foundation.

Alas, it appears politics and ego will always trump conviction and loyalty for Perry, who may have his sights set on the White House in 2012. But again, why no backlash from the right-wingers in Texas who’ve been so supportive of Perry?

Anyhow, we’re hoping Perry seeks the Republican presidential nomination next year. If nothing else, a national campaign will undoubtedly mean a much closer look at those pesky gay rumors.

UPDATE: Perry will make it to CPAC, but he won’t make it to the Super Bowl in his own state. Plus, he wasn’t around for Texas’ cold weather emergency this week. He’s in Southern California. What a douche.

—  John Wright

Gov. Perry to break anti-gay boycott of CPAC

Gov. Rick Perry

Where is the outrage?

According to multiple reports, Texas Republican Gov. Rick Perry has accepted an invitation to speak at the annual Conservative Political Action Conference (CPAC) in February, thereby breaking a boycott of the conference by socially conservative groups over the inclusion of the gay group GOProud as a participating organization.

“Happy to announce that Governor Rick Perry is confirmed to speak at CPAC 2011,” the conference announced last week on its Facebook page.

According to the Washington Times, groups boycotting this year’s conference include the Heritage Foundation, the Family Research Council, the Center for Military Readiness, the American Family Association, the American Principles Project, the Liberty Counsel and the National Organization for Marriage:

“The base-line reason is that homosexuality is not a conservative value,” said Bryan Fischer, the American Family Association’s director of issue analysis. “It’s the conservative PAC, not the libertarian PAC.”

Of course, these same groups and their members have historically been among Perry’s biggest supporters, and he’s been among their strongest anti-gay allies. But now that Perry is considering running for vice president, he’s apparently willing to throw them under the bus in exchange for a high-profile speaking engagement. What’s next, accepting an award from Log Cabin Republicans? Taking a gay lover? Wait, maybe he’s already done that.

Anyhow, we’ve left a message with the governor’s press office to try to find out what in the hell he was thinking, but we haven’t heard back.

Again, we ask, where is the outrage?

—  John Wright