March 22, 2016 at 11:05 pm EDT | by Michael K. Lavers
NGLCC defends gay U.S. ambassador to Dominican Republic

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

The National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce on March 22, 2016, issued a statement in which it defended gay U.S. Ambassador to the Dominican Republic James “Wally” Brewster amid calls that President Obama remove him from his post. (Photo public domain)

The National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce on Tuesday indicated its support of gay U.S. Ambassador to the Dominican Republic James “Wally” Brewster amid calls to remove him from his post.

“Ambassador Brewster continues to be dedicated and loyal representative of the American people, and an essential example of the Obama administration’s commitments to diversity and inclusion at all levels of government,” said the organization in a press release.

The NGLCC issued its statement two weeks after a group of Dominican evangelicals posted a petition to the White House’s website that urges President Obama to remove Brewster from his post for promoting an “LGBT agenda.”

Brewster and his husband, Bob Satawake, attended the official launch of the NGLCC’s latest international affiliate in the Dominican Republic that took place at a Santo Domingo hotel earlier this month. The White House petition notes, among other things, that the two men “supported” this event.

“Economic visibility, just like social visibility, is essential in building a diverse and inclusive society,” said NGLCC President Justin Nelson. “Ambassador Brewster has been invaluable in helping NGLCC establish our Dominican Republic affiliate chamber which promotes such visibility for the Dominican LGBT business community.”

“America is fortunate to have someone as qualified and respected as Ambassador Brewster advocating for the economic inclusion of the Dominican Republic’s LGBT people and for American business interests in the region,” added Nelson.

NGLCC condemns ‘malicious attacks’ against ambassador

The petition is the latest in a series of attacks that Brewster has faced since Obama nominated him to represent the U.S. in the Dominican Republic in 2013.

A group of Dominican intellectuals and religious leaders earlier this year urged the Dominican government to declare Brewster “persona non grata” because of a U.S.-based education initiative they claim seeks to “turn our adolescents gay.” Cardinal Nicolás de Jesús López Rodríguez of the Archdiocese of Santo Domingo has repeatedly used homophobic slurs to describe the openly gay ambassador.

National Security Advisor Susan Rice has reiterated the Obama administration’s support of Brewster. A group of Dominican LGBT rights advocates have also posted their own petition to the White House website in support of him.

The Vatican has yet to publicly respond to López’s use of anti-gay slurs to describe Brewster.

“What we’re seeing is traditional tactics that people use to push people back in the closet, to push allies back from wanting to come out and support the rights of those who are marginalized,” Brewster told the Washington Blade last week during an exclusive interview at the State Department. “For me, for Bob, we know we have the support of the president.”

The NGLCC in its press release condemned “the scurrilous and malicious attacks” against Brewster.

“What some would wrongfully call promoting an agenda, the NGLCC and its allies proudly defend as promoting opportunities that shape the most inclusive and successful climate for all citizens to thrive,” said NGLCC CEO Chance Mitchell. “Regardless of personal feelings about the LGBT community, the proven economic benefits of empowering LGBT entrepreneurs are nearly impossible to deny.”

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

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