The U.S. Department of State says it is not surprised by a Catholic cardinal's latest antigay comments about the openly gay U.S. ambassador to the Dominican Republic. But that hateful rhetoric illustrates exactly why it's important for LGBT diplomats to be out, the State Department says.
Cardinal Nicolas de Jesus Lopez Rodriguez, archbishop of Santo Domingo, the nation’s capital and largest city, told reporters December 1 that U.S. Ambassador to the Dominician Republic James "Wally" Brewster "should focus on housework, since he's the wife to a man."
"Ambassador Brewster, like all U.S. ambassadors, advances this [human rights] policy along with many other aspects of our bilateral relationship," the State Department told Fox News in a statement Tuesday. "That there may be those opposed to the promotion of human rights in various societies around the world is not surprising, but it does underscore why this work is so important."
Dick Durbin, a Democratic U.S. senator from Illinois and devout Catholic, recently drafted a letter to Pope Francis asking him to intervene regarding the cardinal's ongoing harassment of the ambassador, noting that the cardinal has organized church-sponsored public protests against Brewer.
This month's comments were not the first time Lopez has made homophobic statements about Brewster, who became ambassador to the Dominican Republic two years ago. When President Obama announced Brewster’s nomination, Lopez objected and referred to Brewster as a “maricón,” the equivalent of “faggot.” Other Catholic officials said that appointing him ambassador showed a lack of respect for the values of the predominantly Catholic, Spanish-speaking nation. Despite protests by antigay groups, the U.S. Senate confirmed Brewster’s nomination unanimously.
Brewster, a former business consultant and fundraiser for the Democratic Party, is spouse to Bob Satawake. He is the seventh openly gay person to be appointed a U.S. ambassador.