A Catholic cardinal on Sunday once again used an anti-gay slur to describe the gay U.S. ambassador to the Dominican Republic.
Cardinal Nicolás de Jesús López Rodríguez of the Archdiocese of Santo Domingo described James “Wally” Brewster as a “faggot” during an interview with Hoy, a Dominican newspaper. López also said the gay ambassador wants to promote “faggotry” in the predominantly Catholic country.
“What are we going to become with such a thing, an ambassador who is a faggot,” López told Hoy. “He [Brewster] should go home, he does not have to bring anything here.”
López spoke to Hoy less than a week after he described Brewster — who is married to Bob Satawake — as a “wife” who “should stick to housework.”
Brewster and Satawake discussed the comments last week during an interview with a Dominican television station.
“We consider this as noise,” said Brewster, noting he and Satawake continue to fight drug trafficking in the Caribbean country. The two men also highlighted their support of businesses and human rights for people with HIV/AIDS and other marginalized groups in the Spanish-speaking nation. “We want to keep working on those things that are important.”
Cardinal previously used slur to describe ambassador
López in 2013 described Brewster as a “faggot” after President Obama nominated him to become the next U.S. ambassador to the Dominican Republic. The controversial cardinal has also described gay men as “degenerates,” among other things.
“The Catholic Church constantly rebukes us,” Stephanía Hernández, a transgender rights advocate, told the Washington Blade during a 2013 interview in Santo Domingo. “If you are gay, you’re discriminated against. If you’re trans, you’re discriminated against. If you’re poor, you’re discriminated against.”
The State Department on Tuesday defended Brewster.
“U.S. policy is dedicated to eliminating barriers to equality, fighting discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, and engaging LGBTI communities around the world,” spokesperson Pooja Jhunjhunwala told the Blade in a statement that did not specifically mention López by name. “Ambassador Brewster, like all U.S. ambassadors, advances this policy along with many other aspects of our bilateral relationship. That there may be those opposed to the promotion of human rights in various societies around the world is not surprising, but it does underscore why this work is so important.”
Marianne Duddy-Burke, executive director of DignityUSA, an LGBT Catholic group, last week urged López to apologize for his comments against Brewster.
“On behalf of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Catholics and our allies in the United States, I am writing to object, in the strongest possible language, to your recent remarks calling U.S. Ambassador James Brewster a ‘wife’ who should ‘stick to housework.’” wrote Duddy-Burke in a letter. “These comments are disparaging to a fine public servant, insulting on many levels, and entirely unworthy of a Church official.”
The Archdiocese of Santo Domingo has yet to return the Blade’s request for comment.
Dominican advocates have credited Brewster and Satawake with raising visibility around LGBT issues, which includes efforts to increase the number of gay tourists who visit the country. Brewster’s ambassadorship also coincides with the more moderate tone towards homosexuality and other topics the Vatican has adopted since Pope Francis assumed the papacy in 2013.
The Vatican has yet to respond to the Blade’s request for comment on López’s comments.