March 11, 2016 at 9:51 am EST | by Michael K. Lavers
Gay U.S. ambassador: Obama ‘supports my work’

James Wally Brewster, United States Department of State, Dominican Republic, gay news, Washington Blade

Gay U.S. Ambassador to the Dominican Republic James “Wally” Brewster on March 11, 2016, responded to a petition that calls upon President Obama to remove him from his post. (Photo public domain)

Gay U.S. Ambassador to the Dominican Republic James “Wally” Brewster on Friday responded to a petition that urges President Obama to remove him from his post.

“President Obama supports my work in the country with people with disabilities, inequality in access to health care, women and other minority groups,” he said in a statement the U.S. Embassy in the Dominican Republic posted to its Twitter page.

“The U.S. government promotes respect for human rights and equality,” said Brewster. “I am here to promote respect towards vulnerable groups.”

The comments come three days after an anonymous petition that urges Obama to remove Brewster from his post because he is promoting “an LGBT agenda inconsistent with the Christian cultural values and tradition of the Dominican Republic” appeared on the White House website.

A group of Dominican LGBT rights advocates on Wednesday posted their own petition to the White House website in support of Brewster.

“President Obama chose Ambassador Brewster to represent the United States government in the Dominican Republic because of his outstanding credentials, integrity and dedication to the advancing the interests of this country,” said National Security Advisor Susan Rice on Thursday in a statement. “He has the full support of this president, this White House and the entire U.S. government and I know he will continue to advocate tirelessly for the interests of the United States in the Dominican Republic.”

Catholic cardinal uses anti-gay slur to refer to ambassador

Brewster has faced sustained criticism from Dominican religious leaders and others since Obama nominated him to represent the U.S. in the predominantly Roman Catholic country in 2013.

Cardinal Nicolás de Jesús López Rodríguez of the Archdiocese of Santo Domingo has repeatedly used anti-gay slurs to describe Brewster. A group of Dominican intellectuals and religious leaders in January urged President Danilo Medina and the Dominican Ministry of Foreign Affairs to declare the out U.S. ambassador as “persona non grata” because of a U.S.-backed initiative they contend seeks “to turn our adolescents gay.”

“It is U.S. government policy to represent all Americans without regard to their race, ethnicity, religion, national origin, age, gender and sexual orientation,” said Rice in her statement. “Bigotry in any form is against the universal values that we promote and does not support the social inclusion that we believe is important for a free society to succeed. We will continue to support Ambassador Brewster as he advances universal human rights.”

Brewster and his husband, Bob Satawake, on Friday spoke about the petition during a series of interviews with Dominican media.

Michael K. Lavers is the international news editor of the Washington Blade. Follow Michael

  • If Brewster is officially posting that Obama supports his work, that doesn’t bode well for his longevity in the job. It’s a sure sign that the State Department is trying to make this go away. If it doesn’t Brewster will likely “voluntarily” step down for the good of the “diplomatic mission” in the Dominican Republic. Obama may support Brewster’s work, but John Kerry is not exactly a pillar of strength when it comes to standing your ground and doing the right thing.

    • John Kerry was one of 16 Democrats in the US Senate who voted against DOMA in 1996 while the Clintons and their friends in the DNC threw gay voters under the bus. Secretary of State Kerry knows how to stand his ground. So does President Obama.

      • In 2004 Kerry supported civil unions rather than gay marriage when he ran for President in 2004. So was he for gay marriage before he was against it? Apparently for John Kerry, standing your ground comes with caveats.

  • The Roman Catholic Church is nothing but a hate group that collaborated with the Third Reich’s HItler during the Holocaust. Who cares what a rep for a sexually degenerate, neo-nazi collaborator to hate and violence thinks. THe next time a major hurricane hits the island and it begs for help, just say no to the haters of the Dominican Republic. I’ve always noticed how Dominicans consider themselves somewhere further along on the evolutionary scale than, say, African Americans. Sickening church as hate group and the country’s no better.

  • I am Dominican and Catholic as well, and I think that we must respect and love anybody not matter their sexual identity, ethnic group, religion, social status, etc, etc. Pope Francis said “Who I am to judge gay people.” I also think that lots of people in my country are living in a outright despair, and that’s the thing which all religious leaders must be concern, not what bussiness the Ambassador is doing with his life. In The Dominican Republic, many different leaders always address the famous phrase of Benito Juarez, “Among individuals, as among nations, respect for the rights of others is peace.” This is the year dedicated to Mercy of the Catholic Church, meaning that we must have Mercy for all our brothers and sisters regardless of whom they are.

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