Wednesday, October 9, 2013


Anti-Gay NOM's Brown may have broken US law says prominent LGBTQ rights activist Fred Karger
By Brody Levesque SAN DIEGO -- Prominent LGBT rights activist and former GOP presidential candidate Fred Karger is charging that the National Organisation for Marriage president, Brian Brown, may have broken U. S. law after a secret trip to Russia to lobby for a bill that banned Russian children from being adopted by same-sex couples.
Karger charges that Brown illegally lobbied a foreign government by meeting with Russian lawmakers in June prior to the Kremlin’s enactment of the ban, a violation of the Logan Act [ (18 U.S.C.A. § 953 (1948) ] which makes it a crime for a private citizen to confer with foreign governments against the interests of the United States.
In a letter released publicly Tuesday, Karger wrote to United States Attorney General Eric Holder and U. S. Secretary of State John Kerry noting:
[...] "Mr. Browns’ 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." 
He added,
"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 plead with both cabinet officers;
“I hope that both of you gentleman will 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 today noted that although Brown refused to respond to a request to comment from RWW, 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 US officials would not deter his work abroad and he labeled Karger’s accusation that the speech may have violated US 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 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.”

New Jersey
NJ State Senator Barbara Buono: "My daughter... is NOT a political agenda."
NJ Governor Chris Christie, (R)
WAYNE -- New Jersey State Senator Barbara Buono, the Democratic challenger in the Governor's race against Republican incumbent Chris Christie, angrily attacked the governor's position on the same-sex marriage issue in the state during a televised debate Tuesday evening.
BUONO: Governor, show a profile in courage and do the right thing for our sons and our daughters, our brothers and our sisters. This is a human right and it really should not be on the ballot. We should not have the majority of the people decide the minority’s rights. It’s just wrong. 
CHRISTIE: Thirty-five other states — 35 of the 50 — have put this question on the ballot, and so the idea that this should never be on the ballot is something that is against what 35 other states have done. I trust the people of New Jersey to make this judgment. I don’t trust 121 politicians with political agendas. [...] 
BUONO: My daughter, who is openly gay, is not a political agenda.
Buono challenged Christie over remarks the governor had made earlier in the day at a campaign stop comments when he had suggesting same-sex marriage was an issue no different than guns or taxes. Christie replied that he saw the issue as just a “political agenda."
Christie's position was that he sees the issue as something he'd rather be decided by the state's voters versus "a group of politicians with a set agenda or 7 judges," [Referring to the NJ Supreme Court} as justification of his veto of the state legislature’s marriage equality bill during the last legislative session earlier this year.