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What Makes NOM Any Different From Russia’s Anti-Gay Extremists?

October 04, 2013 2:45 pm ET by Carlos Maza

National Organization for Marriage (NOM) president Brian Brown traveled to Russia in June to argue in favor of harsh new restrictions on adoption by same-sex couples, but his organization stayed uncharacteristically quiet about his international exploits.

On October 3, Right Wing Watch reported that NOM president Brown, along with a group of anti-gay activists, had traveled to Moscow to argue in favor of the Duma’s plan to tighten restrictions on adoptions by same-sex couples:

On June 13, 2013, just days after the Russian Duma passed laws banning on gay “propaganda” and actions that “offend religious feelings,” a delegation of five French Catholic anti-gay activists --at least one with ties to the far-right Front National party -- traveled to Moscow at the invitation of the Duma committee on family, women and children to discuss, among other issues, Russia’s plans to tighten its ban on adoption by same-sex couples abroad. Joining them was one of the most well-known figures in the American anti-gay movement, National Organization For Marriage president Brian Brown .

According to the report, Brown “warned of the dangers of allowing gay people to adopt children,” repeating many of the same bogus talking points his organization uses to combat marriage equality in the U.S.

What’s notable about Brown’s visit is NOM’s total silence on the trip. When Brown travelled to France in January to participate in anti-equality protests, NOM produced a video documenting his trip. NOM issued a press release highlighting Brown’s response to the country’s push for marriage equality, and repeatedly touted the work of the country’s anti-gay activists.

But NOM hasn’t been similarly vocal about Russia’s recent anti-gay crackdown. A search through NOM’s blog finds no entries even discussing Russia’s anti-gay legislation, much less Brown’s lobbying trip.

NOM’s support for Russia’s anti-gay adoption laws isn’t exactly surprising. The organization’s spokespersons have repeatedly argued against allowing gay couples to adopt and raise children, and NOM’s anti-equality talking points rely heavily on the same kind of junk science about same-sex parenting that Russia used to justify its adoption ban.

Either way, Brown’s support of Russia’s adoption ban should put to rest any pretense that NOM is concerned solely with protecting the “traditional” definition of marriage. Brown’s speech in Moscow included warnings about pro-gay indoctrination in schools – the exact kind of horror story used to rationalize Russia’s draconian ban on gay “propaganda.” Since NOM aims to depict itself as a moderate pro-family organization, it's worth asking: what part of Russia's anti-gay crackdown doesn't NOM endorse?


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