Family Research Council Lobbied Congress In Support Of Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill

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"Family Research Council Lobbied Congress In Support Of Uganda’s Anti-Homosexuality Bill"

FRC President Tony Perkins

FRC President Tony Perkins

In April, the Senate passed a resolution condemning Uganda’s “Anti-Homosexuality Bill, 2009,” which would impose the death penalty or life imprisonment for some homosexual acts, require people to report every LGBT individual they know, and criminalize renting property to gay men and women. The Family, a secretive American Evangelical group, helped introduce the legislation and has “poured millions of dollars” to prop up the country’s “religious leaders,” many of whom have been central to crafting the anti-gay measure.

But now, Joe Jervis of the blog Joe.My.God has discovered that another religious group, the anti-gay Family Research Council (FRC), spent “$25,000 to lobby Congress against approving a resolution denouncing Uganda’s plan to execute homosexuals.” While the group’s efforts failed to stop the Senate bill, they may have succeeded in slowing down the House version, which “remains languishing in the House almost four months after being referred to the Foreign Affairs Committee,” Jervis notes.

The extent of FRC’s influence, however, is unclear. The measure has been widely condemned around the world, from UK Prime Minister Gordon Brown to federal lawmakers of both parties in the United States. Republican senators Tom Coburn (OK) and Susan Collins (ME) both co-sponsored the Senate resolution and “five Republican representatives – Chris Smith, Frank Wolf, Joe Pitts, Trent Franks and Anh “Joseph” Cao –” wrote a letter to Ugandan President Yoweri Mouseveni urging him to do everything within his constitutional authority to stop the legislation. Smith’s involvement is particularly significant, since he has been a prominent FRC ally and has accepted $4,000 from the group in the 2008 and 2010 election cycles.

FRC’s support for the measure places it on the radical fringe of the political spectrum and out of sync with other religious groups. Many American Christian leaders have come out against the law, including prominent Evangelicals like Pastor Rick Warren. In late December of last year, Warren called on Ugandan pastors to oppose the law, but only after facing intense criticism for saying it wasn’t his “personal calling” to “comment or interfere in the political process of other nations.”

In February, Uganda’s president Yoweri Museveni formed a review committee “in response to international scrutiny.” Last month, the panel — which does not have final word — recommended that the measure be withdrawn.

Update

FRC is denying reports that it lobbied against the Congressional measure:

Inaccurate internet reports have been circulating indicating that the Family Research Council lobbied “against” a congressional resolution condemning a bill proposed in Uganda. The Uganda bill would have provided for the death penalty for something called “aggravated homosexuality.” Unfortunately, those spreading these false rumors deliberately failed to obtain the facts first.

FRC did not lobby against or oppose passage of the congressional resolution. FRC’s efforts, at the request of Congressional offices, were limited to seeking changes in the language of proposed drafts of the resolution, in order to make it more factually accurate regarding the content of the Uganda bill, and to remove sweeping and inaccurate assertions that homosexual conduct is internationally recognized as a fundamental human right.

FRC does not support the Uganda bill, and does not support the death penalty for homosexuality — nor any other penalty which would have the effect of inhibiting compassionate pastoral, psychological and medical care and treatment for those who experience same-sex attractions or who engage in homosexual conduct.

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