Tuesday, June 7, 2016

NOM President Brian Brown Elected President of World Congress of Families

Last month, the World Congress of Families hosted a global gathering for Religious Right activists in Tbilisi, Georgia. In attendance were conservative figures such as Georgian Orthodox Patriarch Ilia II, Georgian businessman Levan Vasadze, and representatives of Russian and American Religious Right organizations, according to the Southern Poverty Law Center. Former U.S. president George W. Bush was awarded the Family and Democracy Pro-Life Award, an ironic accolade for a president who launched two bloody wars in Afghanistan and Iraq.

Brian Brown, president of the National Organization for Marriage, was elected president of the World Congress of Families at the Tbilisi gathering. According to a May 31st press release, Brown was "honored" to be elected president, adding that he was eager to continue the WCF's "pro-family" work. Brown criticized "secular leaders" for promoting family structures other than married, heterosexual couples raising their biological children.
"In recent years, secular leaders around the world have become obsessed with advancing so-called 'alternative' family structures. But there is no family structure more valuable and important to children and civilization as a whole than that of a married father and mother raising the children born of their union in an intact and loving family ... The natural family produces the best outcomes for society – promoting child health and well-being, encouraging marital happiness, enhancing economic prosperity, reducing delinquency and criminality, enhancing educational attainment, promoting spiritual growth, and securing liberty and human dignity. I look forward to contributing to WCF's work to develop and advance pro-family policies around the world."
As the president of an organization opposed to LGBTQ-equality, Brown will be right at home in at WCF. Both NOM and WCF denigrate families that do not fit their rigid vision. Both groups make an idol of heterosexual marriages, claiming that only one kind of family can grants boons to society. Both groups seek to deny rights to LGBTQ people, ignoring their fundamental humanity. However, considering how NOM fell into financial dire straits under Brown's leadership, it remains to be seen how well he will lead the WCF.

Brown's ascent to the WCF's presidency reminds us that the American Religious Right has global reach. NOM and WCF do not limit their activism to the U.S., and neither should their detractors. Supporters of equality must oppose the Religious Right, not only for the sake of the U.S., but for the sake of human rights worldwide.

To read additional commentary, visit the following links.

SPLC Hatewatch: Brian Brown Named President of Anti-LGBT World Congress of Families

Media Matters for America: After Failures In U.S., Anti-LGBT Extremist Elected As Leader Of Global Hate Group

Right Wing Watch: NOM's Brian Brown To Lead Global Anti-LGBT Efforts At World Congress Of Families

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