By Lucas Grindley
Originally published on Advocate.com October 04 2013 2:20 PM ET
The National Organization for Marriage has been exporting its antigay fight to Russia, new video footage and documents show.
An investigation by Right Wing Watch — a website from the progressive group People for the American Way — uncovered NOM's president, Brian Brown, in a video interview in Russia, arguing that LGBT people should be stopped from adopting children. The country soon afterward passed a law banning adoptions by any foreigners who come from a set of countries where marriage equality is legal, including the United States. Most recently, Russia has halted adoptions to Sweden because of the law.
"Right now you’re having the fight about adoption, but the adoption issue is indivisible from the marriage issue," he said in the television interview, according to a translation of the report. "If you don’t defend your values now, I’m afraid we’re going to see very negative developments all over the world."
Right Wing Watch has also found a transcript of a speech given by Brown while in Russia. (It's also been translated from English, to Russian, and then back again.) Brown argued before a joint meeting of the Duma's committee on foreign affairs and its committee on families that allowing equal rights on any front would lead to persecution of religious people.
One of the committee chairman is Yelena Mizulina, who wrote the ban on "gay propaganda" and the adoption bill. Another proposed a law that would take children from gay parents has been scheduled to be debated in February, just as the Olympics in Sochi begin.
Brown pins his argument on a supposed need to protect children. And Russia's so-called "gay propaganda" law is also framed that way, making it illegal for anyone to discuss homosexuality in front of a minor.
"We have actually seen that in some schools, they are talking to children about homosexuality," Brown said of what's happened in the United States, "but in fact they don’t have the right to learn about a lot of things like that until a certain age."
Brown had already reportedly been lobbying behind the scenes in France ahead of marriage equality's passage there (where violent protests broke out in opposition to equal rights). He called on Russia to be an example to the world.
"I think that this visit, the invitation to visit Russia, will enable the development of this movement around the world," Brown said in his speech, according to Right Wing Watch. "We will band together, we will defend our children and their normal civil rights. Every child should have the right to have normal parents: a father and a mother."