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Exporting Hate: When Anti-Gay Activists' Efforts Fall on Deaf Ears at Home

02/19/2014 10:01 am ET | Updated Feb 02, 2016

An unfortunate consequence of the "devastating" losses anti-gay activists face in the U.S. is currently playing out abroad. Some of the biggest players in the anti-gay rights movement are increasingly traveling to foreign countries to spread vicious lies about gay people, using research and statistics that have been debunked in our country.

The activists focusing their attention abroad are notorious in the anti-gay movement. Brian Brown, President of the National Organization of Marriage ("NOM"), recently expressed his desire to "internationalize the marriage issue." He has already traveled to Russia to testify about the dangers of homosexual people. NOM's purported goal is to "protect" marriage, but it seems to be equally concerned with the criminalization of homosexuality abroad and the opposition of any civil rights for gay individuals. To be sure, Brown is affiliated with CitizenGo, an international anti-gay group that promotes and campaigns for speakers with reprehensible anti-gay views.

Peter LaBarbera, head of Americans for "Truth" About Homosexuality, has dedicated his life to fighting against any acceptance of homosexual people. He recently traveled to Jamaica to encourage its people to stand up to anyone who opposes the country's buggery law. The law imposes a punishment of up to 10 years in prison for engaging in male homosexual acts.

The most notorious example is Scott Lively, the man who is responsible for pushing Uganda to pass the anti-homosexual bill. The bill imposes a sentence of life imprisonment for "aggravated homosexuality," which includes acts committed by a person who is an authority figure, who administers intoxicating substances, or is a repeat offender. Lively is unapologetic in his crusade to put gay men and women in jail around the world. He also promotes his hatred in Russia, laughingly claiming that the beatings of gay people are perpetrated by "butch homosexuals." I guess this puts a damper on any gay man claiming to be "masculine."

What is more infuriating about the efforts of anti-gay activists abroad is the impact on foreign youth. Imagine being a young Russian kid, who is told by your government that expressing your innate sexuality is punishable by fines or jail time. Imagine living in fear of walking down the street and attracting the predatory eye of a neo-Nazi. Imagine being terrified of attempting to meet new friends on gay social networks. In the U.S., our gay youth are committing suicide in staggering numbers, despite the support we show them in popular culture. A Russian youth does not have this type of open support from his country. The recent UK television special, entitled Hunted, pointed out that less than 1% of Russian gay people are "out." This is not surprising when Russian celebrities are calling for gay people to be placed in ovens. Even with this horrific climate, American anti-gay activists find nothing wrong with traveling to Russia to push for stricter laws. What should bother these "Christians" is that their rhetoric is used to justify this type of treatment.

Gay people in the U.S. can find comfort in knowing we are fast approaching equal rights in our country. The danger that international gay people face, however, is that our anti-gay activist losers are providing the rhetorical fuel to ignite more animus toward the LGBT community. We must not forget that the collateral damage of gaining rights in our country is the suppression of rights abroad. As we become more successful in gaining equal rights, gay people living abroad will face more torture, incarceration, and death. It is our duty to shine the light on what these anti-gay activists are doing abroad.