A new activist for global homophobia has emerged in Sharon Slater (pictured), an Arizona-based right-wing leader who has become prominent in lobbying United Nations delegates to oppose LGBT rights, watchdog group Equality Matters reports.
Slater’s group, Family Watch International, hosted 26 U.N. delegates from 23 countries at a two-day conference in January that warned them the U.N. “is being manipulated by sexual rights activists to promote the sexual agenda,” Slater wrote in her newsletter, obtained by Equality Matters.
Slater subsequently told the Arizona Beehive, a publication for the state’s Mormon population, that the delegates were concerned about “recent attempts by developed countries, with the United States taking the lead, to pressure developing countries to change their laws and policies to accept and promote a number of controversial sexual rights. The delegates said they urgently needed the scientific information we presented regarding sexual orientation and homosexuality.” That “scientific information,” according to Equality Matters, included a presentation by a person Slater called “a patient” who was supposedly “reorienting from homosexuality to heterosexuality.”
Slater has ties to antigay Uganda clergyman Martin Ssempa, a leading proponent of that nation’s infamous legislation that would punish homosexuality with the death penalty in certain circumstances, Equality Matters reports. Family Watch’s website lists Ssempa as the group’s African coordinator and says, “He is helping Family Watch coordinate pro-family efforts in Africa.”
Family Watch’s “pro-family efforts” include not only blocking advances in LGBT rights but also promoting abstinence only — not condom use — to prevent the spread of HIV. The group also opposes moves to promote women’s rights globally.
“Sharon Slater stands at the intersection between the war on gender equity and the effort to stymie LGBT rights — advancing her crusade against the international ‘assault’ on the family,” Equality Matters’ Kerry Eleveld writes. “She is the quintessential portrait of a religious fundamentalist who got her start doing the abstinence-only work that thrived during the Bush years and has parlayed the international connections she made during that time into helping to spread her corrosive homophobic views abroad.”
Read the full report here.