Family Watch International

US Conservative Groups Supported Nigerian Anti-Gay Law That Led to Wave of Arrests

The Associated Press is reporting that “dozens of gay men” have been arrested in northern Nigeria as a result of a new law strengthening the country’s prohibition on homosexuality, in what public health groups fear will be a setback to efforts to fight AIDS.

LAGOS, Nigeria (AP) — Police, working off a list of 168 suspects purportedly obtained through torture, are arresting dozens of gay men in Nigeria's northern Bauchi state, human rights activists said Tuesday.

A new law in Nigeria, dubbed the "Jail the Gays" bill, is encouraging the persecution of gays and will endanger programs fighting HIV-AIDS in the gay community, said Dorothy Aken'Ova, executive director of Nigeria's International Center for Reproductive Health and Sexual Rights.

On Monday, President Goodluck Jonathan's office confirmed that the Nigerian leader signed the Same Sex Marriage Prohibition Act that criminalizes gay marriage, gay organizations and anyone working with or promoting them.

CBS notes that “sodomy has been illegal in Nigeria for many years...in some parts of Nigeria’s Muslim-majority north where strict Sharia law is upheld, gays and lesbians risk being stoned to death if they are caught.”

This seems like a good time, then, to look back at the American religious right’s support for Nigeria’s harsh penalties for its LGBT residents and opposition to Obama administration efforts to protect LGBT rights abroad.

In 2011, when then-Secretary of State Hillary Clinton announced that the Obama administration would work to protect LGBT rights abroad – including in places like Nigeria that criminalize homosexuality -- the religious right exploded in anger. Pat Robertson called the policy “appalling” and warned of God’s wrath in response. Radio host Janet Mefferd cited Nigeria’s anti-gay laws in a rant against the Obama administration’s policy, saying “I don’t see that this is something that the United States has to jump in on because it’s such a huge global tragedy. It’s crazy.” The Catholic Family & Human Rights Institute also cited Nigeria’s move to tighten criminal sanctions on homosexuality in its opposition to the Obama administration policy.

Liberty Counsel’s Matt Barber, the anti-gay group MassResistance, and Family Watch International’s Sharon Slater have also supported Nigeria’s anti-gay laws at various stages.

We wonder if any of these groups will comment about this wave of arrests.

Family Watch International & NARTH Unveil Ex-Gay 'Documentary'

Two groups that push so-called “reparative therapy” for gay people in the United States and abroad have teamed up to make a documentary explaining their junk science in an attempt to counter efforts to ban the practice for minors.

NOM March Sponsor Defends Criminalization of Homosexuality

The National Organization for Marriage’s upcoming Marriage March in Washington DC is sponsored by a whole litany of national and state-based Religious Right organizations and Catholic Church affiliates, and Jeremy Hooper has been doing an excellent job running down the list.

One notable sponsor of NOM’s march is Family Watch International (FWI), a group that defends the criminalization of homosexuality.

Other NOM march sponsors like the World Congress of Families and the Family Research Council have also defended such anti-gay laws, but as Warren Throckmorton reports FWI has been particularly active in pushing criminalization policies abroad.

Sharon Slater, American anti-gay activist and president of Family Watch International, recently encouraged delegates attending a law conference in Lagos, Nigeria to resist the United Nations’ calls to decriminalize homosexuality. Keynoting the Nigerian Bar Association Conference, Slater told delegates that they would lose their religious and parental rights if they supported “fictitious sexual rights.” One such “fictitious right” is the right to engage in same-sex sexual relationships without going to jail.



In Nigeria, homosexual behavior is illegal and punishable by up to 14 years in prison. In the Islamic North, where Sharia law is enforced, gays can be sentenced to death by stoning.

According to Family Watch International, Nigeria is a role model.



Given the application of U.S. ex-gay rhetoric to questions of criminalization in Africa, it appears that FWI and their ally the WCF are fighting ideological battles in Africa and at the UN that they have lost in the United States. As Slater noted, she opposed the repeal of sodomy laws over a decade ago and now these organizations are opposing UN efforts to encourage repeal of such laws around the world.

Despite recoiling from obvious violence of Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality bill, FWI continues to carry the banner for African and Arab nations that cause GLBT people to live in fear—and sometimes in jail. Opposing the repeal of laws criminalizing homosexual behavior in the U.S. is a far different matter than opposing such repeal in Nigeria or Ghana. Despite Slater saying the matter was “complicated,” the activities of FWI reveal a very uncomplicated, black-and-white strategy: laws opposing homosexuality in any form should be retained, while those which might provide basic freedoms to gays are opposed as bad for everybody else. The only caveat is that they prefer that gays not be beaten or killed.

Kerry Eleveld in the Political Research Associates report “Colonizing African Values” also looks into FWI’s promotion of ex-gay pseudo-science and FWI head Sharon Slater’s demand that homosexuality be treated like rape, assault, sexual abuse and drug dealing.

“It is one thing to allow others the right to engage in self-destructive behavior,” Slater warned in a 2009 article. “But allowing and even granting those same individuals the right to introduce this behavior as normal and healthy to society at large, especially to children, is a very different proposition. This is why we have laws that prohibit sexual acts such as incest, sexual abuse, and rape as well as drug dealing, assaults, and other crimes.”



This stance attracted the National Association of Research and Therapy of Homosexuality (NARTH), which gave Slater a platform during its annual conference last year. As “scientific” organizations that used to employ discredited research in support of curing homosexuality continue to be marginalized, they seem to be reaching out to Christian Right figures such as Slater, and in return FWI’s website utilizes NARTH resources on ex-gay therapy.

Though Slater appears to have kept news of the most recent Global Family Policy Forum to a minimum, last year in a newsletter she recounted “one of the most moving presentations” as given by a person “successfully reorienting” from homosexuality to heterosexuality. According to Slater: “For many of these diplomats, this was their first exposure to the scientific and clinical evidence that proves homo- sexuality is not genetically determined and fixed like skin color or race and that in many cases, individuals who experience same-sex attraction can be helped by therapy.” (emphasis hers)

In order to curry favor with foreign diplomats and people from developing countries, Slater continually drives home themes of the West imposing its bankrupt and deleterious values on the rest of the world. FWI’s latest documentary, “Cultural Imperialism,” is described as a “hard-hitting exposé of how the U.S. and other Western governments and UN agencies are blackmailing developing nations to accept controversial sexual rights in the guise of fighting AIDS.”

Anti-Gay Extremists Unite to Denounce US Embassy for Backing Czech LGBT Pride Festival

The US Embassy in the Czech Republic, as part of the State Department’s new LGBT rights initiative, is supporting a pride festival in Prague “to address discriminatory behavior based on sexual orientation and to promote a tolerant civil society and equal opportunities in the Czech Republic.” Already irate over Secretary Hillary Clinton’s speech on LGBT rights, American Religious Right activists joined their European, African and Latin American allies to denounce the Obama administration for “aggressively promoting the ‘gay’ agenda internationally” and leading a campaign of “cultural imperialism” [PDF]:

At the directive of the president of the United States, Washington is aggressively promoting the “gay’’ agenda internationally, including same-sex “marriage” and the stigmatization and marginalization of any who object to the same.

The Obama’s administration’s embrace of “same-sex marriage” has been overwhelmingly rejected by the American people. There have been 32 state referenda on marriage. In every one of them, voters endorsed the natural definition of marriage (a man and a woman). The North Carolina vote, on May 8, was 61% in favor of natural marriage.



It stands to reason, then, that anything which undermines the family – including changing the definition of marriage – is a breach of the State’s responsibility to protect this indispensable institution which precedes government and makes a stable and free society possible.

The Madrid Declaration of World Congress of Families VI (May 25-27, 2012) --which was unanimously adopted by more than 3,200 delegates from 72 countries --provides, in part: “We affirm the natural family to be the union of a man and a woman through marriage for the purposes of sharing love and joy, propagating children, providing their moral education, building a vital home economy, offering security in times of trouble, and binding the generations.”

Regarding “gay rights,” those caught up in this lifestyle have the same rights as other citizens. This does not include the “right” to force others to validate a lifestyle they find objectionable, for religious or other reasons. It also does not include the right of men to marry men and women to marry women.

The foregoing pseudo-rights do not advance human freedom and dignity but debase them.

We can not imagine a worse form of cultural imperialism than Washington trying to force approval of the “gay” agenda on societies with traditional values.

The list of signatories is mighty long, including former House Majority Leader Tom DeLay; Liberty Counsel’s Mat Staver and Matt Barber; American Family Association’s Tim Wildmon; Catholic League’s Bill Donohue; Vision America’s Rick Scarborough; Rabbi Daniel Lapin; American Civil Rights Union’s Robert Knight; Concerned Women for America’s Janice Shaw Crouse; Pastor Jim Garlow; WND’s David Kupelian; TFP’s C. Preston Noell III; conservative activist Richard Viguerie; World Congress of Families’ Don Feder; Media Research Center’s Brent Bozell; Traditional Values Coalition’s Louis Sheldon and Andrea Lafferty; and the Southern Baptist Convention’s Paige Peterson.

Other activists like Peter LaBarbera of Americans For Truth About Homosexuality, Scott Lively of Defend the Family International and Sharon Slater of Family Watch International are also among the signatories, as is Mission America’s Linda Harvey, who believes people should refuse care for themselves and their children from openly gay doctors and nurses:

Another signatory was Yehuda Levin has claimed that gay marriage caused last year’s D.C. earthquake and linked gay rights to the 9/11 attacks, Hurricane Katrina, the Tsunami and the 2010 Haiti earthquake:

The list even included former chaplain Gordon Klingenschmitt, who performs gay exorcisms:

New Report on African Politics Features RWW Research

Political Research Associates released a new report yesterday to shed light on the activities of Religious Right organizations in Africa – activities that often fly under the radar of American media.

Exporting similar tactics used to influence voters and policymakers in the United States, a broad coalition of far-right groups have invested heavily on outposts in African nations. These groups use their outsize influence to push for radical legislation banning all rights for LGBT persons and curbing reproductive rights.

The report authored by Rev. Dr. Kapya Kaoma, an Anglican priest originally from Zambia, investigates the Pat Robertson-founded American Center for Law and Justice, the Mormon-led Family Watch International, and the Roman Catholic Human Life International, as well as a network of Christian dominionists known as the Transformation Movement or New Apostolic Reformation. The report details ACLJ's efforts to influence the constitution-writing process in Zimbabwe and Kenya, and the anti-LGBT and anti-reproductive justice activities of the other groups in such countries as Uganda, Malawi and Zambia.

The report lays out a detailed explanation of why the Christian right enjoys sizable influence on the African continent, and issues ten recommendations for protecting human rights and developing an infrastructure for the long term.

RWW’s own Brian Tashman is featured in the report, in an article which explores the role of the American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), a right-wing legal group founded by Pat Robertson and led by Jay Sekulow.

His research sheds light on its extensive network (and questionable accounting practices) and opposition to LGBT and reproductive rights at home and abroad:

The ACLJ is now one of the principal legal advocacy groups in the conservative movement, along with the Alliance Defense Fund, Liberty Counsel, the Liberty Institute, and the Thomas More Law Center. The group has built strong partnerships with many Religious Right groups, including the Christian Defense Coalition, Faith and Action,5 the American Family Association,6 and WallBuilders. Its reach has expanded globally with affiliates in countries including France, Israel, Kenya, Pakistan, Russia, Zimbabwe, and Brazil.



The Better Business Bureau says the ACLJ does not meet ten of its twenty standards for charity accountability, citing problems with oversight, compensation, accuracy of expenses, financial transparency, and disclosure; even the founder of the conservative Rutherford Institute has criticized the group’s financial mismanagement.9 An Associated Press investigation found that since 1998, the ACLJ and Christian Advocates Serving Evangelism (CASE), Sekulow’s family-controlled charity, “have paid more than $33 million to members of Sekulow’s family and businesses they own or co-own.”

Religious Right Preparing to Fight For Repeal of Gay Marriage in New Hampshire

While New Hampshire’s Democratic Governor John Lynch survived his reelection race despite a barrage of attack ads from anti-equality groups like the National Organization for Marriage, Republicans won veto-proof majorities in both the State House and Senate. As a result, Religious Right groups such as the Family Research Council have committed to do “whatever it takes” to repeal New Hampshire’s law legalizing gay marriage, which passed in 2009 and went into effect last year. In 2009, Religious Right groups succeeded in overturning a Maine law legalizing gay marriage that was passed by the legislature and signed by the governor by flooding the state with anti-gay activists and misleading ads, and now they have set their sights on New Hampshire. While the Republican majorities in both chambers have the votes to pass a repeal bill, it will require 2/3 majorities to override the governor’s veto. The Concord Monitor reports on how organizations are gearing-up for a major battle over the future of marriage equality in the Granite State:

The lead organizations in the fight are likely to be Cornerstone Action and New Hampshire Freedom to Marry. Cornerstone is affiliated with a national organization - CitizenLink (formerly Focus on the Family) - which could support state efforts. But both sides are also attracting attention from other groups.

On the side of repealing gay marriage, the National Organization for Marriage spent nearly $1.5 million on campaign ads against Lynch. The day after the November election, National Organization for Marriage President Brian Brown said in a press release that the organization is "poised to start taking back territory where (gay marriage) was wrongly enacted in places like New Hampshire and Iowa. That will be the next battleground, and we are confident of victory."

Brown said last week that the organization will continue to work closely with Cornerstone "to make sure that the wrong of forcing same-sex marriage on New Hampshire is corrected."

The Family Research Council also has a presence in New Hampshire, which it plans to continue. It contributed the legal maximum donation of $5,000 to Cornerstone's PAC during the elections. Tom McClusky, senior vice president of the group's policy wing, said the group has invested in making New Hampshire's Legislature more friendly to traditional marriage. "We don't want to see that go to waste," McClusky said.



How much money and effort will be poured into the New Hampshire campaign depends on what type of bill is ultimately proposed. In Maine, which held a statewide referendum that ultimately vetoed the state's gay marriage bill, local and national activists spent more than $6 million to sway public opinion.

The anti gay marriage group there, Stand for Marriage Maine, was led by a local pastor, Bob Emrich, and representatives from the Catholic Diocese in Maine and the National Organization for Marriage. It spent between $2 million and $3 million. The group hired the same public relations firm that worked on a California referendum and got help from the Family Research Council and Family Watch International. Emrich said the National Organization for Marriage was the largest financial contributor, donating around $1.5 million that helped with TV and radio ads, staff, mailings and public relations. The Family Research Council organized rallies and helped with communications and training activists.



For now, there are at least two proposed repeal bills in the Legislature and one constitutional amendment. Only the constitutional amendment has the potential to go on a statewide ballot, but not until 2012. Rep. David Bates, a Windham Republican who proposed two of the bills, said he anticipates moving forward with a repeal bill this session but perhaps not pursuing the constitutional amendment until 2012. A constitutional amendment would require a majority vote of 60 percent in the House and Senate, and a two-thirds' majority of the state's voters. The governor would not have a role.

Bates said it may not make sense to go ahead with a constitutional amendment this year, when it would not appear until 2012, and the goal of repealing gay marriage could be accomplished sooner by a law change. "This legislation is intended to restore the marriage law, to put it back where we were four years ago," Bates said.

World Congress of Families Welcomes Peter LaBarbera To the Family

On his website today, Peter LaBarbera announced that his Americans for Truth About Homosexuality has joined the World Congress of Families as a "partner" organization:

Americans For Truth About Homosexuality is proud to join the World Congress of Families as a “Partner” organization. World Congress is the undisputed leader of the international pro-family movement. It is a distinct honor to be part of their growing network, which actively assists and unites pro-family and pro-life advocates the world over who are struggling against social leftism. WCF’s stated purpose is “to affirm that the natural human family is established by the Creator and essential to good society.” To accomplish its mission, WCF holds biennial international pro-family Congresses as well as more frequent regional conferences in major cities worldwide. To contact WCF, go HERE; to donate to The Howard Center/WCF, go HERE.

World Congress was launched by The Howard Center, based in Rockford, Illinois, a leading conservative, pro-family research institute under the guidance of the esteemed Dr. Allan Carlson. (If you are not reading The Howard Center’s publication, “The Family in America,” you are missing out.) AFTAH greatly appreciates and benefits from the tremendous work that Dr. Carlson, The Howard Center’s able staff, and the World Congress of Families do, and we look forward to working with them for years and decades to come.

Along with LaBarbera's AFT, it was announced that the Western Center for Journalism, founded by WorldNetDaily's Joseph Farah would also be joining the more than two dozen other right-wing groups already established as WCF partners: 

American Family Association
Alliance Defense Fund
Alliance for the Family
Americans United for Life
Associazione per la Difesa Dei Valori Cristiani – Luci sull’Est, Italy
Catholic Family and Human Rights Institute
Concerned Women for America
Ethics and Public Policy Center
Euthanasia Prevention Coalition
Family First Foundation
Family Watch International
Family Research Council
Father Peter Skarga Institute (Poland)
Fellowship of St. James
Focus on The Family
Grasstops USA
HazteOir.org
His Servants
Home School Legal Defense Association
Human Life International
Media Research Center
Parents Forum Switzerland
Population Research Institute
Real Women of Canada
Red Familia (Mexico)
Tradition, Family, & Property
United Families International

You may recall a few years ago when the WCF held its meeting in Poland over the objections of the European Parliamentary Working Group on Separation of Religion and Politics on the grounds that the "extremist and intolerant views ... toward foreigners, people from other religions [and] homosexuals" of WCF members clashed with the values set out by the United Nations and the European Union.

So adding LaBarbera to the mix ought to really help with that.

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Family Watch International Posts Archive

Miranda Blue, Tuesday 01/14/2014, 11:42am
The Associated Press is reporting that “dozens of gay men” have been arrested in northern Nigeria as a result of a new law strengthening the country’s prohibition on homosexuality, in what public health groups fear will be a setback to efforts to fight AIDS. LAGOS, Nigeria (AP) — Police, working off a list of 168 suspects purportedly obtained through torture, are arresting dozens of gay men in Nigeria's northern Bauchi state, human rights activists said Tuesday. A new law in Nigeria, dubbed the "Jail the Gays" bill, is encouraging the persecution of... MORE >
Miranda Blue, Thursday 12/12/2013, 12:03pm
Two groups that push so-called “reparative therapy” for gay people in the United States and abroad have teamed up to make a documentary explaining their junk science in an attempt to counter efforts to ban the practice for minors. MORE >
Brian Tashman, Wednesday 03/20/2013, 2:00pm
The National Organization for Marriage’s upcoming Marriage March in Washington DC is sponsored by a whole litany of national and state-based Religious Right organizations and Catholic Church affiliates, and Jeremy Hooper has been doing an excellent job running down the list. One notable sponsor of NOM’s march is Family Watch International (FWI), a group that defends the criminalization of homosexuality. Other NOM march sponsors like the World Congress of Families and the Family Research Council have also defended such anti-gay laws, but as Warren Throckmorton reports FWI has been... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Friday 08/10/2012, 3:30pm
The US Embassy in the Czech Republic, as part of the State Department’s new LGBT rights initiative, is supporting a pride festival in Prague “to address discriminatory behavior based on sexual orientation and to promote a tolerant civil society and equal opportunities in the Czech Republic.” Already irate over Secretary Hillary Clinton’s speech on LGBT rights, American Religious Right activists joined their European, African and Latin American allies to denounce the Obama administration for “aggressively promoting the ‘gay’ agenda internationally... MORE >
, Wednesday 07/25/2012, 4:30pm
Political Research Associates released a new report yesterday to shed light on the activities of Religious Right organizations in Africa – activities that often fly under the radar of American media. Exporting similar tactics used to influence voters and policymakers in the United States, a broad coalition of far-right groups have invested heavily on outposts in African nations. These groups use their outsize influence to push for radical legislation banning all rights for LGBT persons and curbing reproductive rights. The report authored by Rev. Dr. Kapya Kaoma, an Anglican priest... MORE >
Brian Tashman, Tuesday 01/04/2011, 6:00pm
While New Hampshire’s Democratic Governor John Lynch survived his reelection race despite a barrage of attack ads from anti-equality groups like the National Organization for Marriage, Republicans won veto-proof majorities in both the State House and Senate. As a result, Religious Right groups such as the Family Research Council have committed to do “whatever it takes” to repeal New Hampshire’s law legalizing gay marriage, which passed in 2009 and went into effect last year. In 2009, Religious Right groups succeeded in overturning a Maine law legalizing gay marriage... MORE >
Kyle Mantyla, Thursday 06/17/2010, 2:40pm
On his website today, Peter LaBarbera announced that his Americans for Truth About Homosexuality has joined the World Congress of Families as a "partner" organization: Americans For Truth About Homosexuality is proud to join the World Congress of Families as a “Partner” organization. World Congress is the undisputed leader of the international pro-family movement. It is a distinct honor to be part of their growing network, which actively assists and unites pro-family and pro-life advocates the world over who are struggling against social leftism. WCF’s... MORE >