Alex Greenwich, The Independent Member for Sydney, has joined peak LGBTI advocacy groups in calling on the Minister for Social Services, Kevin Andrews MP, to withdraw from the World Congress of Families (WCF) conference. This follows the release of a damning report linking WCF to anti-LGBTI advocacy in Uganda, Nigeria, and Russia.
Uganda, Russia, and Nigeria have enacted horrific anti-LGBTI laws within the past year, and LGBT people in those countries have suffered vicious and violent backlashes in their wake. This includes harassment, discrimination, prosecution, public beatings
Those joining Mr Greenwich’s include Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, the NSW Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby, and Australian Marriage Equality. The report produced by the Human Rights Campaign is available HERE.
Mr Greenwich’s letter is available HERE and states:
“Your attendance and endorsement of the WCF conference risks embarrassing Australia’s human rights record and is in direct contradiction of the work done by the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in counties such as Uganda, Nigeria, and Russia to support their LGBTI citizens and advocate for fairer laws.”
“The World Congress of Families supports a narrow and discriminatory definition of families, your attendance and support of them risks condoning their exportation of anti-LGBTI bigotry, ideology, and legislation abroad”
In statement issued by The Human Rights Campaign, Ty Cobb, Director or Global Engagement said:
“The World Congress of Families is an American organization that coordinates a dangerous group of activists spreading anti-LGBT policies and rhetoric around the world. The organization and its affiliates have been fighting against marriage equality in Australia for nearly a decade, and their work to marginalize LGBT people in places like Russia has had horrific consequences. Fair-minded individuals should reject these American extremists for encouraging polices and rhetoric that have real and harmful consequences on LGBT people from Melbourne to Moscow and beyond."
Shelley Argent, from Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gay said:
“The WCF does not recognise all families, including mine and any family with LGBT loved ones. This is a group that promotes homophobia and transphobia which endangers our sons and daughters and worse still, their families which is not what real family groups should be about. Families are changing. In 2014 families are no longer what they were in the 50s, in fact they are now the minority. We need to keep in mind that Kevin Andrews and other Australian MPs involved with this Congress are those who should be looking to for good government not fearing their decisions which will continue to actively discriminate against our LGBT sons and daughters”
Justin Koonin, Co-Convenor of NSW Gay and Lesbian Rights Lobby said:
“It is highly inappropriate for senior members of state and federal government to appear at a conference whose organisers support the criminalisation of homosexuality, and fuel discrimination against LGBTI people across the globe. The federal government made clear its support for new protections for LGBTI people in anti-discrimination law prior to the last election and it is simply contradictory to lend any credibility to organisations whose actions directly contribute to that discrimination in such a callous manner. We would ask these Ministers and MPs to consider the consequences of endorsing these out-dated views, particularly with regard to the impact on young people’s mental health and well-being.”
Ivan Hinton, Deputy Director of Australian Marriage Equality said:
"The Human Rights Campaign has linked this group to a campaign aimed at depriving people of their human rights in places like Uganda and Russia.The government has spoken out against the persecution of LGBTI people as a member of the United Nations and it's entirely inconsistent for senior members of government to now endorse their agenda. Either the government is for ending persecution or it's not; either the government is for all families or it's not."
Mr Greenwich believes the chorus of Australians calling on Mr Andrews to withdraw from the conference will continue to grow.
For further information please contact Mr Greenwich’s office on 02 9360 3053.