WASHINGTON — Today the Human Rights Campaign ( HRC ) released a new web video highlighting the role that American extremists have played in the passage of Russia's draconian anti-LGBT laws. The video details how more than a dozen Americans, including National Organization for Marriage ( NOM ) President Brian Brown have traveled to Russia in the last year to meet with policy makers and lobby for these laws. Also featured in the video is Scott Lively who tomorrow will join another American who has made a career advocating for the persecution of LGBT people - Peter LaBarbera — for a press conference announcing the formation of a new organization whose sole purpose is to spread hate abroad.
"Americans aren't buying the hate these anti-LGBT extremists are selling, so they've been forced to take their take their dangerous rhetoric abroad," said HRC president Chad Griffin. "These radicals are now traveling from country to country advocating for the persecution of LGBT people under the guise that they're saving children."
The consequences of these laws have been immediate and severe. In less than a year since the signing of an anti-LGBT "propaganda" law in Russia, we have seen LGBT people arrested and beaten in the streets, accompanied by a surge in asylum requests from LGBT Russians trying to leave the country. This is a direct result of the work Brian Brown and his allies did advocating for discrimination.
"As we've seen in places like Russia, Uganda and Nigeria, the result of these people's work is widespread oppression, violence and harassment against the LGBT community and that must not be tolerated," said HRC's Director of Global Engagement Ty Cobb.
In addition to Brown, perhaps the most prominent American who has insinuated himself in the Russian "traditional values" movement is Scott Lively. Lively is currently facing a civil trial in Massachusetts for his role in promoting the "kill the gays" bill in Uganda, and he has been a prominent supporter of anti-LGBT laws across Eastern Europe as well. Lively first visited Russia in 2007 and held a 50 city speaking tour of the former Soviet Union where he advocated for various anti-gay measures. Far right activists like Lively are able to reach policymakers and an audience overseas that they are unable to access at home where their work has been thoroughly debunked and discredited. Now that the propaganda bill has become law, he has claimed some of the credit for himself and speaks of Russia as a "model for the rest of the world." Lively was most recently in Russia in October 2013 when he appeared on television with the head of the Orthodox Patriarch's Commission on the Family and repeated one of his most outrageous claims, that gay men were responsible for the Holocaust.
HRC recently launched a global initiative which includes an opposition research program to track and debunk these exporters of intolerance. The program is also working to create awareness of international LGBT issues here in the United States and will collaborate with dedicated advocates across the globe working to fight discrimination and advance equality for the world's LGBT people. A resource guide for the media on American anti-LGBT extremists working in Russia can be found online here: www.youtube.com/watch .