Boehner secures House meeting space for supporters of Russia’s anti-gay laws

U.S. Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio)

U.S. Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio)

WASHINGTON – U.S. House Speaker, Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio) on Friday secured meeting space for the top American supporters of Russia’s anti-LGBT laws, according to a report by BuzzFeed.

The news comes hours after Sen. Mark Kirk withdrew their original meeting space late Thursday, with a spokesperson saying, “Senator Kirk will not host groups that advance a hateful agenda.”

U.S. Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio)

U.S. Rep. John Boehner (R-Ohio)

The World Congress of Families (WCF) – which sent nearly a dozen anti-LGBT American activists to Russia to support the anti-gay laws – used Friday’s event to promote using Russia’s anti-gay laws as a model for future U.S. laws.

The roundtable discussion, hosted by WCF, is entitled “Family Policy Lessons from Other Lands: What Should America Learn?”

Three of the four panelists, Austin Ruse, Allan Carlson, and Steven Mosher, have traveled to Russia to meet with other anti-LGBT leaders during critical stages of Russia’s recent anti-LGBT crackdown.

The fourth panelist, Janice Crouse, celebrated a proposed law in Uganda that would make being LGBT punishable by death. Crouse called it a “biblical and cultural stand against the radical homosexual agenda.”

The World Congress of Families, based in Rockford, Ill., advocates that homosexuality is a “deviation” from sexual norms and is comparable to pornography, promiscuity, and incest.

“Speaker Boehner’s embrace of these ambassadors of hate is shameful and despicable, said Human Rights Campaign (HRC) President Chad Griffin, in a statement.

“These individuals have supported the subhuman treatment of LGBT people around the world, and now they want to do the same here. The fact that the Speaker would welcome a panelist who praised Uganda’s proposal to sentence gay people to death should shock the conscience of all Americans,” said Griffin.

In June, Russia enacted an anti-gay “propaganda” law that prohibits distribution of any information that could influence minors that “nontraditional sexual relationships” are “socially equivalent to traditional relationships.”

The law criminalizes public displays of affection between same-sex couples, and foreigners breaking this law, such as those visiting Russia for the 2014 Sochi Olympic Games, could face arrest for up to 15 days followed by deportation.

Russia also enacted a law this summer that prohibits LGBT Russians from adopting children and prohibits adoptions by single foreigners from countries that recognize marriage equality.

In September, a Russian lawmaker introduced legislation that would allow courts to take children away from parents who are LGBT or are suspected of being LGBT, although that bill is currently on hold.

On Thursday, Boehner reiterated his opposition to federal legislation to prohibit workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity, calling the bill “unnecessary” because “people are already protected in the workplace.”

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