A Republican gay rights group in Florida put out a graphic ad this week that includes what it claims is a photo of the lifeless body of Ambassador Christopher Stevens, the U.S. diplomat who was killed in September during an attack on an American consulate in Libya.
The ad, funded by the Broward County Log Cabin Republicans and published in the local, LGBT-focused magazine Florida Agenda, claims that the Obama administration was unable to protect gay and gay friendly Americans abroad. It also appears to suggest that the lack of protection could lead to the imposition of extreme anti-gay Sharia law in Israel and even in the United States.
Representatives of the Broward Log Cabin group did not respond to email requests for comment.
"Broward County Log Cabin Republicans are unified in their support of Equality of Rights in the State of Israel," a portion of the ad reads, "Israel, regardless of anyone's sexual orientation, is the one beacon of hope in the Middle East defending our communities [sic] human rights."
The ad furthers the unsubstantiated claim that Stevens' body was paraded through the streets of Benghazi after being discovered. Amateur video of the moments after the raid suggests that the ambassador was immediately taken to a hospital where doctors tried unsuccessfully to revive him. There is also no evidence to suggest Stevens was gay, as the ad seems to indicate.
In an interview with The Huffington Post, Executive Director of the Log Cabin Republicans R. Clarke Cooper condemned the ad calling it "ridiculous" and "obscene."
"There was no tie to Islamic homophobia on the attack of U.S. personnel in Benghazi," said Cooper, who said he contacted the Broward County chapter Friday morning to express his disapproval.
He stopped short of calling for the resignation of those responsible for the ad, saying he could not act unilaterally and that there are institutional mechanisms in place to address the situation.
"Right now it's just too early to tell, but there are mechanisms for the board of directors of Log Cabin Republicans nationally to take punitive action," Cooper said. "Also, another possible course of action is through the state Republican Party of Florida."
The Republican Party of Florida did not immediately return a request for comment.
Cooper also expressed concern about how the ad could affect elections in November. "It was not helpful at a time when party entities up and down the ticket at the county, state and national level are working on get-out-the-vote."
Despite the claims made in the ad, the Obama administration has been active in promoting gay rights abroad. In 2011, President Barack Obama issued an official memorandum declaring, "No country should deny people their rights because of who they love, which is why we must stand up for the rights of gays and lesbians everywhere."
On the same day, Secretary of State Hillary Clinton addressed a United Nations group in Geneva and proclaimed that "gay rights are human rights and human rights are gay rights."
Cooper called these efforts "toothless," but added, "While I'm certainly disgusted by the ad that was run by a chapter in Florida, I'm also certainly not giving a pass on the weak foreign policy of the Obama administration."