The Trump administration sent an SPLC-designated hate group as its delegation to a key UN meeting this week and some fear it’s a signal of what’s to come on LGBT rights.
The Center for Family and Human Rights (C-FAM) was named this week by the U.S. State Department to attend the U.N.’s Commission on the Status of Women, an annual set of high-level meetings on women’s equality and empowerment.
C-FAM has been listed as an anti-LGBTQ hate group by nonprofit civil rights group the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) for at least five years, said Heidi Beirich, director of the SPLC’s Intelligence Project.
“The way you get on our anti-gay hate list is basically if you demonize the gay population,” Beirich told the Thomson Reuters Foundation. “That’s how they ended up on the list.
“The move comes as decisions by President Donald Trump’s new administration raise fears of a rollback of LGBTQ rights.
Wrote SPLC in 2014:
Ruse and C-FAM have been lobbying against sexual and reproductive rights, abortion, and LGBT people at the UN and abroad for years. In 2012, Ruse and C-FAM even helped block a UN treaty protecting the rights of people with disabilities because, the groups claimed, it was “pro-abortion.” The wording of the document stated that people with disabilities should have access to healthcare, including “in the area of sexual and reproductive health and population-based public health programmes.”
C-FAM is an offshoot of the hardline anti-abortion group Human Life International (HLI, founded in 1981), whose ties to violent anti-abortionists and extreme tactics made it too controversial for the UN. Its founder, Paul Marx, a DC-based Catholic priest, also had a history of claiming that the pro-choice movement was full of Jews, who in his words, were perpetrating another Holocaust. HLI was denied consultative status in 1993, so it set up C-FAM in 1997 as its UN lobbying arm, and the organization shifted its rhetoric to include vague terminology like “traditional values” and “respect for sovereignty” (useful for countries that employ repressive policies and wish to avoid scrutiny for human rights violations).
This year C-FAM was approved for consultative status at the UN’s Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC), which is concerned with the world’s social, economic, and environmental issues. ECOSOC will review the organizations in July and in most cases, will approve consultative status. Non-governmental organizations that are granted this status then have access to ECOSOC and its subsidiary bodies and the various human rights mechanisms of the UN and various special events organized by the President of the General Assembly.
If C-FAM is approved, expect even more international outreach and anti-LGBT propagandizing from Ruse. Over the years, he has railed against abortion and voiced support for laws criminalizing homosexuality. Last year, he voiced support for Russia’s anti-gay propaganda law (which criminalizes free speech with regard to homosexuality). Ruse called the law a noble quest for “human rights” and signed a joint statement (along with other anti-LGBT groups) in support of it.
Top image: Austin Ruse, C-FAM President.