NOM president may face charges over anti-LGBT address to Russian parliament

By David Ferguson
Friday, October 11, 2013 12:05 EDT
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Brian Brown of NOM via Flickr Commons
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Brian Brown, the president of anti-LGBT hate group the National Organization for Marriage (NOM) is attempting to justify a secret trip to Russia to advise the Russian parliament, the Duma, on writing new anti-LGBT laws.

Brown and his organization have maintained a strict silence on the Russian visit, but on Friday, Right Wing Watch reported that Brown could potentially face sedition charges for lobbying against the interests of the U.S. government to a foreign power.

Former Republican presidential candidate Fred Karger alleged in a letter to the Attorney General Eric Holder and Secretary of State John Kerry that Brown violated U.S. law by addressing the Duma. It is illegal for U.S. citizens to conduct private diplomacy with foreign governments against the interests of the United States under the Logan Act.

“I hope that both of you gentleman will use the authority of your offices to immediately investigate this possible very serious violation,” wrote Karger. “If Mr. Brown did travel to Moscow with French religious leaders with the express intention of furthering discrimination against LGBT [Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender] Russians and all LGBT travelers to Russia, this could be in direct conflict with current United States laws.”

Brown insisted that he was speaking “extemporaneously” to the Duma and that he was there at the behest of anti-LGBT group the World Congress of Families, an Illinois-based group dedicated to a worldwide ban on same sex marriage.

“We will unite. We will defend our children their normal civil rights,” Brown said to the Duma’s Committee on Family, Women and Children on June 13. “Every child must have the right to normal parents: a mother and a father.”

Days after Brown left Moscow, the Duma passed its laws against adoption of Russian children by people from countries that allow same sex marriage and began debate on legislation that would allow the government to remove children from homes headed by LGBT parents.

A State Department spokesperson told RIA Novosti that she could not confirm whether the agency had received Karger’s letter, but said that “if and when we do receive it, we will review it and respond appropriately.”

[image of Brian Brown via Wisconsin Politics' Flickr photostream, Creative Commons licensed]

David Ferguson
David Ferguson
David Ferguson is an editor at Raw Story. He was previously writer and radio producer in Athens, Georgia, hosting two shows for Georgia Public Broadcasting and blogging at Firedoglake.com and elsewhere. He is currently working on a book.
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