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NOM’s Brian Brown may have violated U.S. law, says LGBT activist Fred Karger

Wednesday, October 9, 2013

SAN DIEGO, Calif. — Prominent LGBT rights activist and former GOP presidential candidate Fred Karger alleged Tuesday that National Organization for Marriage (NOM) president Brian Brown may have broken federal law after a secret trip to Russia to lobby for a bill that banned Russian children from being adopted by countries where same-sex marriage is legal.

Karger said that Brown illegally lobbied a foreign government when he met with Russian lawmakers in June prior to the Kremlin’s enactment of the ban, a violation of the Logan Act, which makes it a crime for a private citizen to confer with foreign governments against the interests of the United States.

Fred Karger (left) and Brian Brown

Fred Karger (left) and Brian Brown

In a letter released Tuesday, Karger wrote to U.S. Attorney General Eric Holder and U.S. Secretary of State John Kerry, noting:

“Mr. Brown’s heretofore secret trip to Russia in June of this year to speak out and lobby in support of draconian restrictions on gay, lesbian, bi-sexual and transgender (LGBT) adoption rights became known only last week in a report issued by Miranda Blue for Right Wing Watch, a project of People for the American Way.”

[...]

“The presentations by NOM’s Brian Brown were apparently very effective. Five days later, the Duma passed a ban on the adoption of Russian children by same-sex couples and by single people living in countries that allow marriage equality.”

“If Mr. Brown did travel to Moscow with French religious leaders with the express intention of furthering discrimination against LGBT Russians and all LGBT travelers to Russia, this could be in direct conflict with current United States laws.”

The ban was subsequently approved by both houses of the Russian Duma and signed into law by Russian President Vladimir Putin on July 3.

According to the website of the Russian Duma Committee on Family, Women and Children, Brown addressed lawmakers on June 13 to advocate for proposed legislation that would ban Russian children from being adopted by same-sex couples.

“We will unite. We will defend our children their normal civil rights,” Brown said, according to a Russian language transcript of his speech posted on the committee’s website.

“Every child must have the right to normal parents: a mother and a father.” [There was no English version available nor posted on the Parliament's website]

In his letter, Karger asked Holder and Kerry to “use the authority of your offices to immediately investigate this possible very serious violation.”

There is no mention of the speech on the NOM website, but Right Wing Watch uncovered a blog post by a French Catholic group that said Brown accompanied its activists to the Duma.

Right Wing Watch noted that, although Brown refused to respond to their request for comment, he did speak with Russia media outlet Ria Novosti in a telephone interview Wednesday, confirming that he spoke “extemporaneously” at the Duma meeting.

Brown said he was invited to do so by “Russian activists working with the World Congress of Families,” an Illinois-based conservative group set to hold a global convention in Moscow next year.

“We’ve been very open that we’re going to work with allies around the world that believe marriage is a union between a man and a woman,” Brown said.

Brown also indicated that Karger’s appeal to top U.S. officials would not deter his work abroad, and labeled Karger’s accusation that the speech may have violated U.S. law “absurd.”

“It is laughable how little he understands that in America we’re free to stand up and speak for things like traditional marriage around the world,” Brown said.

A call to the U.S. Department of Justice went unanswered to the ongoing federal shut down, but a spokesperson for the U.S. State Department indicated that Karger’s letter will be reviewed and then responded to “appropriately.”

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29 more reader comments:

  1. send him to jail already we know all these anti gay people who lead groups have jail them keep them out of the media

    Posted on Thursday, October 10, 2013 at 2:56am
  2. Of course he did

    Posted on Thursday, October 10, 2013 at 2:57am
  3. I’m not surprised anymore. ..if they can’t fuck up america. Go for the 2nd world

    Posted on Thursday, October 10, 2013 at 2:59am
  4. Arrest him and put him in jail.

    Posted on Thursday, October 10, 2013 at 3:00am
  5. egotistical prick and I know I shouldn’t call him that because it makes other pricks feel bad but that was the lowest insult I could come up with on so short of notice.

    Posted on Thursday, October 10, 2013 at 3:01am
  6. It is my hope that some organization will sue Brown for his activities and I am ever so grateful to Fred Karger for his activism!

    Posted on Thursday, October 10, 2013 at 3:02am
  7. may have?????

    Posted on Thursday, October 10, 2013 at 3:03am
  8. It would be wonderful his slim like this is brought to federal court and thrown in to a to a federal prison. It would make him loose his passport and be restricted to the United States.

    Posted on Thursday, October 10, 2013 at 3:03am
  9. That wouldn’t surprise me

    Posted on Thursday, October 10, 2013 at 3:05am
  10. Oh, please, let him have violated U.S. law. He can play the religious victim all he wants as he serves, hopefully, a five year term in prison. By the time he gets out, all this will have passed and our rights will have been secured and he can adjust to his new status…irrelevant.

    Posted on Thursday, October 10, 2013 at 3:06am
  11. Bastard.

    Posted on Thursday, October 10, 2013 at 3:07am
  12. NOM tells vile and vicious lies about LGBT people. And don’t forget that Orson Scott Card was an active member of NOM—boycott Ender’s Game.

    Posted on Thursday, October 10, 2013 at 3:09am
  13. He’s a communist , put him to death…

    Posted on Thursday, October 10, 2013 at 3:10am
  14. This is why I was so disappointed Fred Karger didn’t make it to the ballot in the last election. That man needs to be in office.

    Posted on Thursday, October 10, 2013 at 3:13am
  15. ship his a** to gitmo !

    Posted on Thursday, October 10, 2013 at 3:19am
  16. ship his a** to gitmo !

    Posted on Thursday, October 10, 2013 at 3:19am
  17. maybe him pay for his crime against all communities because it is not right for him to go in an violate everybody’s rights. this hurts everyone not just or gay community place him in jail where he should be…

    Posted on Thursday, October 10, 2013 at 3:49am
  18. maybe him pay for his crime against all communities because it is not right for him to go in an violate everybody’s rights. this hurts everyone not just or gay community place him in jail where he should be…

    Posted on Thursday, October 10, 2013 at 3:49am
  19. ‘We’re free to stand up for traditional marriage ….. but fuck you and your freedoms!”

    Posted on Thursday, October 10, 2013 at 3:50am
  20. ‘We’re free to stand up for traditional marriage ….. but fuck you and your freedoms!”

    Posted on Thursday, October 10, 2013 at 3:50am
  21. I don’t mean this as disrespectful, but Brian Brown really looks gay … cough cough

    Posted on Thursday, October 10, 2013 at 5:22am
  22. What I find funny is the quote from him they have at the end of the article. “It is laughable how little he understands that in America we’re free to stand up and speak for things like traditional marriage around the world,” — The amount of stupid inside that comment under these circumstances is pure arrogance at best. While you have the right to say (almost) anything within the United States, the moment you leave the United States to lobby for a foreign government (not even a friendly one at that) is the moment you lose those rights to things such as freedom of speech. This is borderline treasonous and it’s sad he can’t really understand that. What if it wasn’t lobbying a foreign government to uphold “traditional marriage”, but restricting religious rights, helping a foreign leader to get elected or much, much worse. When is the line drawn? What if they’re drawing it right now and because this person chooses not to see it, doesn’t mean he cannot still get in trouble for his actions. He most certainly can, but with how the United States is right now, the government (when they reopen) may very well just turn a blind eye. But if there is still a sliver of good left under Lady Justice’s dress, then I hope his arrogance catches up to him and people such as Mr. Brown here are finally taught a lesson that their daddy never did.

    Posted on Thursday, October 10, 2013 at 7:24am
  23. Yes, he did; however, will there be any consequences to his actions?

    Posted on Thursday, October 10, 2013 at 10:57am
  24. BROWN needs to be killed.

    Posted on Thursday, October 10, 2013 at 11:38am
  25. nom shud be disbanded its the 21 century people no such thing as traditional ,marriage anymore

    Posted on Thursday, October 10, 2013 at 11:51am
  26. Good will always triumph over evil. NOM, you cant win.

    Posted on Thursday, October 10, 2013 at 4:23pm
  27. Get his MISERABLE, BITCH ASS!

    Posted on Thursday, October 10, 2013 at 6:09pm
  28. JAIL!

    Posted on Thursday, October 10, 2013 at 8:56pm
  29. Can people just stop hating on us gays and just move on? People just need to stop being cruel.

    Posted on Thursday, October 10, 2013 at 9:05pm