US sends “pro-family” group to UN fueling fears over LGBT rights
REUTERS – NEW YORK, March 15 (Thomson Reuters Foundation) – The United States has sent a pro-family lobbying group listed as a “hate group” by civil rights activists in its delegation to key United Nations meetings, advocates said on Wednesday, fuelling fears over rolling back gay rights.
The Center for Family and Human Rights (C-FAM) was named this week by the U.S. State Department to attend the U.N.’s Commission on the Status of Women, an annual set of high-level meetings on women’s equality and empowerment.
C-FAM has been listed as an anti-LGBT hate group by nonprofit civil rights group the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) for at least five years, said Heidi Beirich, director of the SPLC’s Intelligence Project.
“The way you get on our anti-gay hate list is basically if you demonize the gay population,” Beirich told the Thomson Reuters Foundation.
“That’s how they ended up on the list.”
The move comes as decisions by President Donald Trump’s new administration raise fears of a rollback of LGBT rights.
Trump has voiced support for LGBT rights, but his administration has revoked federal guidelines that let transgender students use bathrooms of their choice. Vice President Mike Pence has expressed staunch opposition to gay rights.
On its website, C-FAM says its mission is “to defend life and family at international institutions”.
Beirich said the inclusion of C-FAM “is taking the State Department in a very ugly direction” and failing to address the violence and discrimination faced by LGBT people in some places.
“When you take this anti-gay tone openly, that provides an opening for people to continue those horrible practices,” she said. “We want the State Department to be a beacon of freedom and safety for communities, and this is the opposite of that.”