In late October, Brian Brown, who heads the National Organization for Marriage and the International Organization for the Family, sent out a gushing email about his “good friend” and “close ally” of IOF Bosko Obradovic, whom Brown described as “a Member of Parliament in Serbia, and leader of the pro-family Dveri Party.”
You wouldn’t know it from Brown’s description of Dveri as a “pro-family” party, but the Dveri Party is a fringe far-right nationalist movement that just barely won representation in parliament in 2016 by joining forces with another party to narrowly overcome the threshold of 5 percent of the vote. As I noted at Religion Dispatches:
In “Religious and Sexual Nationalisms in Central and Eastern Europe: Gods, Gays, and Governments,” (Brill, 2015) Marek Mikuš writes, “Dveri was established in 1999 by a group of students” at the University of Belgrade, who “enjoyed exceptionally close ties to the Serbian Orthodox Church whose high dignitaries attended and spoke at their events.” It was one of the groups that organized a violent protest against Belgrade’s first pride parade in 2010 and which successfully pressured the government to cancel the 2011 parade.
Brown’s email about Obradovic was practically a love note:
Bosko is much more than a committed and outspoken supporter of the family, he’s a true champion and courageous leader. The other day, he gave an incredible speech before the Serbian Parliament that was a true tour-de-force, an incredibly powerful rebuke of the LGBT movement. He spoke truth to power, and passionately took on the majority’s insistence on imposing pro-“homosexualism” on society.
“Do yourself a favor and take ten minutes to see what a courageous champion looks like,” Brown urged supporters. So we watched a video of Obradovic’s speech with English subtitles. In what Brown called his “incredible” “tour-de-force” speech, Obradovic said that gay pride parades should be outlawed—so much for Brown’s posturing as a defender of freedom—along with “promotion of homosexualism to under aged individuals.”
In his speech, Obradovic repeatedly referred to “homosexualism” as a “totalitarian cult” and “totalitarian ideology” and denounced the idea that textbooks would include positive depictions of gay people, saying, “you have no right to influence the sexual orientation of the youth of this country” and demanding to homosexuals that they, “stop with your indoctrination of our children against our traditional and family values.”
Multiple studies have proven that homosexuality is not inherited, as you claim, rather it is a socially generated behavior, by the social environment which pushes young people in that direction. This is what you want, to lord over the souls and bodies of our youth and to direct them towards your sexual, let’s not call it distorted, call it whatever you like orientation. This is for me unnatural, now explain to me if you can, how is it natural and how is it God-given that every child should have two dads and two moms. This is not how God conceived the world.
Obradovic claimed that he has “nothing against homosexuals” and does not meddle in people’s privacy, but, he said, “when something is pushed upon your children, something which according to our opinion, in accordance with our religious beliefs and out tradition is not normal, this bothers me, very much so.”
In an echo of U.S. Religious Right groups’ deceptive “special rights” rhetoric, Obradovic accused gay-rights advocates of wanting to “attain more rights than other citizens of the Serbian society and state.”
Brown’s adoration of Obradovic is one more example of the U.S. Religious Right supporting a more extreme anti-LGBTQ agenda overseas than they are willing to do openly at home.