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US anti-gay advocates involved in homophobic Russian laws
The head of United States anti-marriage equality group the National Organisation for Marriage is facing possible legal action over a trip to Russia in June to meet with Russian lawmakers to advocate for a law banning the adoption of Russian children by foreign same-sex couples.
Brian Brown from the National Organisation for Marriage (NOM) addressed the Russian parliament’s committees on foreign affairs and on family, women and children, along with a small group of French anti-gay activists present to speak against LGBTI equality.
“We have actually seen that in some schools, they are talking to children about homosexuality, but in fact they don’t have the right to learn about a lot of things like that until a certain age,” Brown said in his speech.
“I think that this visit, the invitation to visit Russia, will enable the development of this movement around the world.”
Brown also claimed the passage of marriage equality laws in the US led to the closure of religious organisations opposing same-sex couples adopting.
The Russian parliament passed the law banning same-sex adoption just days after Brown’s speech.
NOM did not publicise Brown’s visit to Russia, and a report on his secret visit by US activist organisation Right Wing Watch attracted widespread criticism from LGBTI advocates.
The report prompted president of advocacy group Rights Equal Rights Fred Karger to accuse Brown of breaching a piece of US legislation called the Logan Act. The law makes it a crime for American citizens to communicate with foreign governments or officials “against the interests of the United States”.
In his open letter to US Secretary of State John Kerry and US Attorney-General Eric Holder, Karger argues Brown violated the Logan Act by advocating for legal change in direct conflict with US law.
“I hope that both of you gentleman will use the authority of your offices to immediately investigate this possible very serious violation of the Logan Act by Mr. Brown and any other American citizens who may have accompanied him to Russia,” Karger wrote.
“Americans who correspond, testify or meet with any foreign government or any officer or agent thereof, with intent to influence the measures or conduct of any foreign government certainly would appear to be in violation of this Act.”
Brown has since responded to the accusation, calling it “laughable”.
If found to be in breach of the Logan Act Brown could face up to three years’ imprisonment.