A South Florida gay Republican group’s newspaper ad that features an image of a U.S. ambassador’s corpse has sparked outrage.
The Broward Log Cabin Republican Club of Florida ad that ran in the Florida Agenda’s Oct. 10 edition contains an image of Christopher Stevens’ body being carried through the streets of Benghazi, Libya, after he and three other Americans died during an attack on a U.S. consulate on Sept. 11.
“If the Obama administration isn’t going to protect Gay/Gay-friendly American citizens from the terror of Islamic radicalism, what makes you think they will protect us from Shariah law… ANYWHERE?” reads the ad above the image. It further points out Israel’s pro-LGBT rights record as it urges voters to back GOP candidates. “Israel, regardless of anyone’s sexual orientation, is the one beacon of hope in the Middle East defending our communities human rights. Support Israel in this hour of darkness. Vote Republican!”
Jerame Davis, executive director of the National Stonewall Democrats, accused the Fort Lauderdale group of “cravenly” disrespecting “the life and legacy of a United States civil servant with this ad.” as Bilerico first reported late on Thursday. He further called upon the Broward Log Cabin Republican Club of Florida to retract it and apologize.
“It is simply unimaginable to me how any political message, let alone the muddy and ludicrous message of this ad, in any way justifies disgracing the memory of a man who gave his life in service to his country,” Davis said. “This level of depravity and moral indifference must not be allowed to enter our political discourse.”
R. Clarke Cooper, executive director of Log Cabin Republicans, quickly distanced his organization from the ad.
“This ad does not represent the position of Log Cabin Republicans, and we reject it completely,” he told Washington Blade. ”The 9-11 attack on Americans posted in Libya was a straight up act of terrorism. To suggest the [Al-Qaeda in the Maghreb] attack on our consular mission in Benghazi was connected to homophobia is just as ridiculous as [U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations] Susan Rice claiming the attack in Benghazi was prompted by a film critical of Mohammed. There are plenty of reasons to vote Republican on protecting U.S. interests abroad, but such an obscene ad is fallacious, simple minded and irresponsible.”
Andy Eddy, spokesperson for the Broward Log Cabin Republican Club of Florida, defended the ad.
“Terrorists who want to destroy the state of Israel will try the same thing,” he told the Blade. “That’s our only friend in the Middle East. What happened in Libya is another form of Islamic terrorism.”
Eddy further responded to calls that his group apologize for including a picture of Stevens’ body in their Florida Agenda ad.
“I would be willing to apologize if the Republican Jewish Coalition tells me to apologize for supporting Israel and for standing up against sharia law and radical Islam,” he said. “This is actually where we stand. We stand with Israel. We stand against radical Islam and Shariah [law. Stevens] died without the support and defense he needed around the embassy.”
Jimmy LaSalvia, executive director of GOProud, defended the group.
“It’s clear that LCR Broward understands, like we do, that the greatest threat to gay people in the world is the spread of radicalized Islam,” he told the Blade.