A petition has been circulating in an attempt to remove gay U.S. Ambassador to the Dominican Republic James “Wally” Brewster from his post. The petition has been signed by more than 30,000 Dominican evangelicals.
A group of Dominican Catholic bishops are urging their country’s citizens to try to convince the U.S. to fire Brewster for actions that “promote the LGBT lifestyle” such as inviting his husband, Bob Satawake, to attend public appearances with him.
Obama’s administration has come out backing Brewster, and a group of Dominican LGBT advocates have started their own petition supporting the gay ambassador.
“What we’re seeing is traditional tactics that people use to push people back in the closet, to push allies back from wanting to come out and support the rights of those who are marginalized,” Brewster has responded. “For me, for Bob, we know we have the support of the president.”
Despite the opposition Brewster is continually faced with, he and his husband continue to be outspoken supporters of LGBT causes in the Dominican Republic. They appeared at the opening of the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce’s affiliate in the Dominican Republic and also participated in the Pride parade.
“Ambassador Brewster is a dedicated representative of the U.S. government and an exemplary public servant who was confirmed unanimously by the U.S. Senate,” said Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin.
Griffin said the petition against Brewster “promotes hatred and bigotry.” He also believes that the Dominican religious leaders who are advocating for this petition “are promoting fear and ignorance that not only smears a dedicated American diplomat, but contributes to a climate where people are afraid to come out.”
“It’s time Pope Francis spoke out against this campaign of hate being perpetrated by Catholic Church leaders,” Griffin continued.
Rosanna Marzan, an LGBT advocate in the Dominican Republic, also condemned the religious officials, saying: “The activism to which the conservatives are referring is nothing more than a smokescreen to cover up other issues and to keep people distracted.”