Fox News legal analyst and top advisor to the presidential campaign of former Gov. Mitt Romney (R-MA), Jay Sekulow, head of the right-wing American Center for Law and Justice (ACLJ), has supported campaigns to criminalize homosexuality and abortion in Africa. According to Mother Jones, Sekulow and his son Jordan set up ACLJ offices across the developing continent dedicated to persuading local officials to “take the Christian’s views into consideration as they draft legislation and policies.”
In Zimbabwe, the ACLJ, which bills itself as a conservative counterweight to the ACLU, is fighting to keep homosexuality illegal. The group has joined forces with Zimbabwe’s brutal dictator, Robert Mugabe, to codify national laws against homosexual behavior and same sex marriage, which were outlawed in 2006.
Amnesty International and other human rights groups have condemned Mugabe’s Zimbabwe as one of the most brutal and repressive regimes on earth, and yet Sekulow deputy Pastor Alex Chisango, director of the ACLJ’s Zimbabwe office, welcomed Mugabe and his advisors in a prayer meeting held in 2010 to kick off the country’s constitutional reform effort. The ACLJ wanted to be on the ground to ensure that as Zimbabwe and other developing nations in Africa democratize and grow, homosexuality and same sex marriage will remain illegal, as well as all forms of abortion, even when the life of the mother is threatened.
Sekulow and his son were at Romney’s side for his failed bid for the GOP nomination in 2008 and once again proclaimed their support for the former governor this year, endorsing him in January.
Romney has pledged for his part to work with the Sekulows and ACLJ to “bring conservative change to Washington,” a promise that belies the candidate’s rush to the center as evinced since the first presidential debate in Denver.
While the Romney campaign has refused to comment on Sekulow’s role within its workings, Politico reported that Sekulow has been sitting in on high-level strategy meetings and functioning as a liaison between the campaign and movement conservative lobbies like evangelicals Christians.
Gene Kapp, a spokesperson for the ACLJ, told Mother Jones that Sekulow’s role within the campaign was an “informal” one. “He has endorsed Romney in his individual capacity as a private citizen, not as chief counsel for the American Center for Law and Justice. His support is voluntary and unpaid.”
The ACLJ expanded its reach into Africa in 2009, but domestically it has been a legal bulwark for conservatives against the steadily rising tide of LGBT equality since it was founded in 1990, dispatching a phalanx of evangelical attorneys to states throughout the country to fight marriage equality laws in New Jersey, Washington State, the District of Columbia and more.
Sekulow was one of the key advisors to the George W. Bush White House in the Supreme Court nominations of Justice Samuel Alito and Chief Justice John Roberts, a role that he could well reprise in a Romney White House.