January 7, 2016 at 4:04 pm EDT | by Michael K. Lavers
Dominican gov’t urged to declare U.S. ambassador ‘persona non grata’

Wally Brewster, Dominican Republic, gay news, Washington Blade

U.S. Ambassador to the Dominican Republic James “Wally” Brewster, left, and his husband, Bob Satawake, at their official residence in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic, in June 2015. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

A group of two dozen Dominican intellectuals and religious leaders have urged the country’s government to declare the gay U.S. ambassador to the Dominican Republic “persona non grata.”

The letter sent to President Danilo Medina’s administration and the Dominican Ministry of Foreign Affairs specifically cites the “intent” of the White House and the U.N. “to create the right conditions to morally deprive our adolescents in school by imposing upon them sexuality classes that have as basic text a manual that invites children to begin practicing gay and lesbian practices while in secondary school.”

“This initiative to turn our adolescents gay early on is an initiative of the U.S. government that is run by a homosexual and represented by another homosexual in the Dominican Republic,” reads the letter that Al Momento, a Dominican newspaper, published on its website on Wednesday.

The letter specifically criticizes James “Wally” Brewster and his husband, Bob Satawake, for “freely” taking part in last year’s Pride parade in the Dominican capital of Santo Domingo. The letter also references a picture of “a group” of gay men who were “semi-naked and hugging each other” in the pool of Brewster and Satawake’s official residence that a Dominican newspaper published.

“We view this invitation to public homosexuality as an indecency and a lack of decorum that shames the modesty of the majority of the Dominican population that neither shares in homosexual practices or practices their sexuality in promiscuous environments,” it says.

Dozens of Dominican LGBT rights activists and advocacy groups in a strongly worded statement criticized those who signed the letter.

“The absurd and homo/lesbo/bi/transphobic violence that takes place every day in practically the entire country and its institutions, including those who call themselves progressive, is found in the intellectuals’ letter that is calling for the U.S. ambassador’s head,” the statement reads. “It is evident that while many families; schools and churches do not encourage these expressions of violence, they allow them to take place.”

Pooja Jhunjhunwala, a spokesperson for the State Department, also rebuked the letter.

“We disagree in the strongest of terms with these characterizations of Ambassador Brewster and our foreign policy,” Jhunjhunwala told the Blade, noting efforts in support of LGBT rights are part of U.S. foreign policy that seeks to promote human rights around the world. “Ambassador Brewster, like all U.S. ambassadors, advances this policy along with all other aspects of the U.S. relationship with the Dominican Republic.”

Anti-gay slur used to describe U.S. ambassador

Brewster has faced persistent criticism from Dominican religious officials since President Obama nominated him to represent the U.S. in the Caribbean country in 2013.

Cardinal Nicolás de Jesús López Rodríguez of the Archdiocese of Santo Domingo last month said Brewster is a “faggot” who wants to promote “faggotry.” López during a recent interview with a Dominican newspaper described the married gay ambassador as a “wife” who “should stick to housework.”

Neither the Archdiocese of Santo Domingo nor the Vatican returned the Blade’s requests for comment on López’s use of anti-gay slurs to describe Brewster.

The Blade has reached out to the Dominican government for comment on the letter.

The National Palace in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

The National Palace in Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

Michael K. Lavers has been a staff writer for the Washington Blade since May 2012. The passage of Maryland's same-sex marriage law, the HIV/AIDS epidemic, the burgeoning LGBT rights movement in Latin America and the consecration of gay New Hampshire Bishop V. Gene Robinson are among the many stories he has covered since his career began in 2002. Follow Michael

  • Babydragon

    The misogyny of Cardinal Lopez is showing, insulting the Ambassador by calling him a ‘wife who should stick to housework’ I can just imagine how he views women. The Dark Ages ended centuries ago, welcome to the 21st Century, were we are no longer guided by fairy tales but by logic and reason.

  • WesternIowan

    Since middle east religions like Christianity and Islam were created by Lott having incest with his two daughters in a cave, these “religious leaders” really need to step back on being sanctimonious about anything. Any adult who reads any ancient book from these middle east religions realizes they were written by slave-owning polygamists who treated women as property and killed their disobedient children routinely, so persecuting people in the 21st century using the writings of these longsince dead people is absurd.

  • MikeinBaltimore

    I guess Lush Rimbaugh did not sign the letter, but had input into it. After all, isn’t the Dominican Republic his favorite country (even more so than the US)?

    I guess we can look forward to hour upon hour of his homophobic rants if the US government doesn’t agree to every demand of the ‘intellectuals and religious leaders’ who wrote the letter.

  • Arieldny .

    Your article is poor and bias. This is not an issue with the church but an issue of the people of the Dominican Republic.Gay people in the DR are treated with respect and are integrated in our society. Don’t use tax payer’s money to promote kids to be gay or lesbian in schools confusing their minds and believes. This is very disrespectful. Being gay is okay but don’t try to go funding politicians or institution for a false cause. Promote the integration of gay in all the different aspects of societies. Do NOT creating gay groups or a gay nation as if they were different human beings!

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