Sekulow psyches the American Center for Law and Justice, a Christian legal group focused on religious liberty and free speech. It has branches around the world: one in Europe, one in Zimbabwe, one in Kenya, and one in Moscow, called the Slavic Centre for Law and Justice( SCLJ ). And while the SCLJ spars with Putin’s government over Christians’ rights to talk about their faith, it has publicly praised anti-blasphemy laws and laws banning” homosexual propaganda” targeted at minors.
Tax filings indicate the ACLJ furnished more than $1.5 million in funding to its Russia affiliate from 2011 to 2015, the most recent years with available data.
The co-chair of the SCLJ, Anatoly Pchelintsev, told Voice of America in 2012 that” homosexual propaganda” exists in” both direct and concealed sorts ,” and that legislation to bar it would be good, as the Human Rights Campaign has detailed. And he praised the passage of a regional law banning the so-called propaganda.
” The key will be that it runs and guarantees some kind of punishment ,” he said that same time.” In my opinion, citation for an administrative offense is sufficient, violations like this do not fall under the purview of criminal law .”
” No misdemeanor is too small or silly to escape a written notice of the anti-LGBTQ reformers, and targets for investigation have included children’s volumes, a ninth grade daughter and video games ,” a 2015 report from the Human Rights Campaign procured.
” Before the homosexual propaganda law, LGBT people would not have been openly attacked in daylight … but now they don &# x27; t feel safe on the streets or even talking to people online ,” Tanya Cooper of Human Rights Watch told Al Jazeera two years after the law was passed.
Ty Cobb, who heads world programs at the Human Rights Campaign, told The Daily Beast that the anti-propaganda statute, along with legislation significantly limiting how foreign funding of non-profit groups, has significantly impeded LGBTQ activists’ endeavours there.
” The statute has really closed down space for organizations and advocates to be outspoken around human rights for LGBTQ people, because folks try to implement the law where any public speech about LGBTQ rights is in violation of that statute, whether there are children or not in the area ,” he mentioned.” It’s had a bit of a chilling impact on free speech across the country, where folks don’t know if they’re in violation of the law or not .”
In the year after the law’s passageway, the Human Rights Campaign found that there was a significant increase in violent attacks on LGTBQ people, that police rarely investigated the two attacks, and that when they did, the perpetrators received little punishment.
The SCLJ–whose work is often highlighted on the ACLJ’s American site–also liberated a statement a few periods after Pussy Riot members crashed a church service to demonstration Putin. The statement, flagged by People for the American Way, called for tighter laws against speech who are able to hurt the sensations of religious people and incite violence–the kind of content-based speech crackdown that conservatives profess to resist.
” SCLJ lately raised the issue of the danger of dissemination through social networks of blasphemous information that insults the religion sentiments of the faithful, at times openly provoking interreligious conflicts ,” the statement mentioned.” Today we see that this concern is becoming even more acute and urgent. Criticism of certain religious views and ideas is undoubtedly possible; however, insult and mortification of the dignity of individuals who comprise them or profess any religion is simply unacceptable .”
In the years since, growing violence against LGBTQ Russians has depicted increased international attention. Notably, two journalists were killed in two months, in what many belief were anti-LGBTQ hate crimes. And last year, the Russian parliament considered legislation that would ban same-sex pairs from kissing or holding hands in public.
To be sure, Sekulow has been open about criticizing Russia for its foreign policy decisions and cooperation with Iran.
” Today, a new unholy confederation of Iranians, Russians, and jihadists, is waging a war against the United States and the western way of life ,” he said in a promo video for his newest book.” If we are to survive this increasing menace, we must act now .”
But when it comes to Putin’s crackdown on the very Western values of free speech, Sekulow’s Russia affiliate is more cagey.
Sekulow himself once told decriminalize homosexuality in the U.S. would have dire repercussions.
” By furnishing constitutional protection to same-sex sodomy, the Supreme Court strikes a damaging blow for the traditional family that will only intensify the legal battle to protect marriage and the traditional household ,” he said in the wake of the 2003 Supreme Court ruling that overruled a law banning same-sex couples from having sex.
On the campaign trail, Trump criticized Hillary Clinton for the fact that the Clinton Foundation took contributions from Qatar, Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, and other countries with miserable human rights records. But as chairperson, he and Secretary of State Rex Tillerson have expressed little interest in advancing human rights around the world. And Sekulow’s record indicates he, too, is uninterested in protecting the speech rights of LGBT people.
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