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Cardinal uses anti-gay slur to refer to U.S. ambassador nominee

Nicolás de Jesús López Rodríguez of the Archdiocese of Santo Domingo described James “Wally” Brewster as a “faggot”

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Cardinal Nicolás de Jesús López, Gay News, Washington Blade

Cardenal Nicolás de Jesús López Rodríguez (Photo via Wikimedia Commons by Starus)

A Roman Catholic cardinal from the Dominican Republic last week used an anti-gay slur to describe the man whom President Obama has nominated to become the next American ambassador to the Caribbean country.

Cardinal Nicolás de Jesús López Rodríguez of the Archdiocese of Santo Domingo referred to James “Wally” Brewster as “maricón” or “faggot” in Spanish during a press conference in the Dominican capital on June 26.

Obama on June 21 tapped Brewster, a Human Rights Campaign board member who is also an LGBT co-chair for the Democratic National Committee, to represent the U.S. in the Dominican Republic.

Daniel Foote, a spokesperson for the U.S. Embassy in Santo Domingo, defended Brewster’s nomination in a brief statement to reporters on June 29.

“Brewster arrives as an ambassador,” Foote said, as reported by the Associated Press. “He’s not coming here as an activist for the gay community.”

López, who was among those rumored to potentially succeed Pope Benedict XVI after his surprise resignation in February, has previously used homophobic slurs to describe gay men.

He described gay men as “faggots” in a 2007 interview with a Dominican newspaper.

López told the Associated Press in 2006 that gay tourists who visit Santo Domingo’s old city are “social trash” and “degenerates.” He said during a 2010 interview with the Dominican newspaper Listín Diario that a Santo Domingo park in which gay men and lesbians gather had become “a space where all types of insolences and vulgarities abound.”

Dominican LGBT rights advocates have criticized López’s comments against Brewster.

“We are not questioning the exercise of faith; the exercise of faith is a necessity and a human rights,” Leonardo Sánchez, director of the Santo Domingo-based group Amigos Siempre Amigos, told the Dominican newspaper 7 Días on June 28. “What we are questioning are the attitudes of those who use their faith to incite violence.”

The Associated Press reported that Rev. Cristóbal Cardozo of the Dominican Evangelical Fraternity and other religious leaders have also spoken out against Brewster’s nomination.

Buzzfeed reported an advisor to President Danilo Medina said the Dominican government approved Brewster’s nomination before the Obama administration announced it.

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4 Comments

4 Comments

  1. Mike W

    July 5, 2013 at 8:36 am

    The hypocrisy is mind boggling. He represents a church that teaches love and compassion yet he engages in vicious personal attacks. I wonder if he is a closet homosexual. From past experience we have seen that many people who engage in verbal gay bashing are frequently deeply closeted gay men. Unfortunately, if you get rid of all the pedophiles and the hypocrites there would be no one left to run the Catholic Church.

  2. jerry

    July 7, 2013 at 1:09 pm

    @Mike W. get rid of all of them, close down the cult and distribute the money to the people they have harmed.

  3. Michael W.

    June 25, 2015 at 12:35 pm

    Lopez is just Like almost all United States archbishops. They are the most anti gay vile closeted worthless piles of evil in the world. At the most recent synod in Rome the U.S. archbishops were the ones fighting pope Francis on anything positive about gays. These men (closet cases) are nowhere near loving Christians. And to be honest many of them are only loving if they are trying to lure a very young boy to have sex with them. I’m a married gay Catholic man and love Jesus. However, I despise the catholic church for is relentless hatred towards the gay community and women. I have no doubt that the archbishops in the U.S. Would love to see every gay man killed just because of their sexual orientation. Get prepared most of you priest in the catholic church because you’re going to hell for unwarranted hatred towards innocent gay men. I hope you’re happy in your daily life of hate.

  4. axemole

    September 12, 2015 at 11:08 am

    Good for him… Like Trump, we have to stop with all the P.R. B.S. and call a spade a spade… forget about feelings and that minefield that the libturds want to engage as the foundation for dialogue… lets talk about arguments, lets talk about substance… NOT ABOUT FREAKING FEELINGS GETTING HURT… the morality of the nation is going to hell and people are worrying on the word that is being used… EFF THAT!

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World

Chilean House approves marriage equality bill

Vote took place two days after presidential election’s first round

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Chile, gay news, Washington Blade
(Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

VALPARAÍSO, Chile — The Chilean House of Representatives on Tuesday approved a bill that would extend marriage rights to same-sex couples.

The measure passed by a 101-30 margin roughly three months after the Chilean Senate approved by a 28-14 vote margin.

Two lawmakers abstained. The bill now goes back to the Senate for a final vote.

“After three decades of struggle, there is only one Senate vote left to achieve the so far elusive legal equality that all couples and families deserve,” said Javiera Zúñiga, a spokesperson for the Movement for Homosexual Integration and Liberation, a Chilean LGBTQ rights group, in a press release. “We celebrate this new step, now with the total conviction that we are at the final leg.”

Tuesday’s vote took place two days after the first round of Chile’s presidential election.

José Antonio Kast, a far-right former congressman, will face off against Congressman Gabriel Boric, who previously led a student protest movement, in a Dec. 19 runoff. Outgoing President Sebastián Piñera in June announced he supports the marriage equality bill.

Esteban Guzmán contributed to this story.

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Israeli deputy foreign minister denies country engages in ‘pinkwashing’

Idan Roll, 37, lives in Tel Aviv with husband, two children

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Deputy Israeli Foreign Minister Idan Roll in D.C. on Nov. 17, 2021. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

Israel’s openly gay deputy foreign minister this week dismissed the idea that his country’s government promotes LGBTQ rights in order to divert attention away from its policies towards the Palestinians.

“I would never, ever, put myself in a position that I would be the face of ‘pinkwashing’ as part of my role because I’m confident that there’s no such thing in Israel,” Idan Roll told the Washington Blade on Wednesday during an interview at the Riggs Hotel in downtown D.C.

Roll, 37, spoke with the Blade at the end of a 4-day trip to D.C., which took place less than six months after eight political parties formed a coalition government that ousted long-time Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu.

The Knesset earlier this month passed Israel’s first national budget in three years. Roll, who is the youngest person in the Israeli government, noted to the Blade it earmarks $30 million (NIS 90 million) to LGBTQ organizations across the country.  

Health Minister Nitzan Horowitz in August announced Israel had lifted restrictions on blood donations from men who have sex with men. The Israeli Supreme Court in July ruled same-sex couples and single men must be allowed to have a child via surrogate.

A group of teenagers on Nov. 12 attacked a group of LGBTQ young people near Jerusalem’s main bus station as they were traveling to a transgender rights conference in Tel Aviv. Neil Patrick Harris is among the actors who expressed their support for the Tel Aviv International LGBT Film Festival amid calls from BDS (boycott, economic divestment and sanctions) Movement supporters to boycott it over Israel’s policies towards the Palestinians.

Roll acknowledged Israel does not extend civil marriage to same-sex couples, but he also pointed out to the Blade the country does not “have civil marriage for straight people either” because marriage in the Jewish state is a religious institution. Roll noted he is among the openly LGBTQ people in the Israeli government and they “live a full, fulfilling life.”

“Are we perfect?” he asked rhetorically. “No. Are we one of the best places for gay people to live in the world? Definitely so, and I feel safe. And I feel welcomed. And I feel empowered and I feel like the best of it is ahead.”

Roll told the Blade the idea of “pinkwashing” comes from the fact “that not everyone is as informed as others about life in Israel.”

“That’s something that’s a task this new government and our ministry has, to better convey the Israeli story, and it’s a wonderful and complex and diverse story,” he said.

Roll also stressed he “would love for people to stop pinning one thing against the other.”

“Us doing tremendous work for LGBTQ equality does not get eliminated or erased or cancelled just because we have to also manage a very intricate conflict, which is the Israeli-Palestinian conflict,” he said. “Promoting progressive values is still something that is worth mentioning, and we are working towards bettering the lives of the Palestinians on a humanitarian and economic level. Things are not as black and white as they are portrayed.”

The separation barrier between Israel and the West Bank as seen from a gas station in Bethlehem, West Bank, on Nov. 12, 2016. (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

Roll lives in Tel Aviv with his husband, Harel Skaat, an Israeli pop star who he married in Utah in March, and their two children who they had via surrogates in the U.S.

The lawyer and former model who is a member of the centrist Yesh Atid party founded Pride Front, a group that encourages LGBTQ Israelis to become involved with the country’s political process. Roll told the Blade he decided to run for office after he and his husband started their family.

“It was quite a struggle,” he said, noting their second child was born via surrogate in Oklahoma. “And then it struck me that I have to practice what I preach. I have to not only just encourage others to take political action and move forward, but also I had to take the lead.”

Roll in 2019 won a seat in the Israeli Knesset. Lapid appointed Roll as deputy foreign minister after the new government took office.

“I’m a very young member of this government … and I am an openly gay member of this government,” said Roll. “I am very grateful of the life that I have been able to create for myself in Israel.”

“That’s a story that I feel like I can portray very authentically and I think that’s a story that needs to be told outside of Israel,” he added. “I’m also very proud to be part of the new face of a new government that is doing things differently and in a way I think now allows people of all different ethnicities and colors and agendas to find someone they can relate to in this government.”

Israeli Deputy Foreign Minister Idan Roll (Washington Blade photo by Michael K. Lavers)

U.S. Sens. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.), Jon Ossoff (D-Ga.), Chris Van Hollen (D-Md.), Bill Hagerty (R-Tenn.), U.S. Rep. Ritchie Torres (D-N.Y.) and other members of the Congressional LGBTQ+ Equality Caucus are among those who met with Roll when he was in D.C. Roll also sat down with Deputy National Security Advisor Jon Finer, Deputy Secretary of State Wendy Sherman, American Israel Public Affairs Committee members and Jewish students at George Washington University.

“We have a new government, and the new government is really different in many great ways,” Roll told the Blade. “It’s the most diverse government in our history and in a way it is the most diverse reflection of a very diverse society.”

He said one of the reasons he traveled to D.C. was “to reach out and to open a dialogue.” Roll also stressed Israel “has always been a bipartisan issue.

“It’s crucial to keep it that way and we intend to do that,” he said. “The U.S. is the most cherished and important ally we have and you need to cultivate relationships.”

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World

Thailand Constitutional Court rules against marriage equality

Advocacy group challenged Section 1448 of country’s Civil and Commercial Code

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(Photo public domain)

Thailand’s Constitutional Court on Wednesday ruled a law that defines marriage as between a man and a woman in the country is constitutional.

The Foundation for Sexual Orientation and Gender Identity Rights and Justice, a Thai advocacy group, filed a lawsuit that challenged Section 1448 of the country’s Civil and Commercial Code, which does not extend marriage rights to same-sex couples. Bloomberg said the Constitutional Court in its ruling said Thai lawmakers “should draft laws that guarantee the rights for gender diverse people.”

Sunai Phasuk, a senior researcher for Human Rights Watch who focuses on Thailand, in a tweet said the decision makes the “government’s pledges to promote gender equality meaningless.”

Taiwan in 2019 became the first country in Asia to extend marriage rights to same-sex couples.

The Thai Cabinet in 2018 approved a bill that would allow same-sex couples to enter into civil unions. The government last year backed a second version of the measure.

Tunyawaj Kamolwongwat, a Thai MP who is a member of the Move Forward Party, has introduced a marriage equality bill.

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