The power of one, a few and many to do the right thing and fight for equality, fairness and a just society is an awesome force for change and for good
Having made substantial progress in the US ,in recent years, on the quest for LGBT acceptance and equality, as well as marriage equality (19 states marriage legal, additional 14 states with favorable court rulings in various stages and…), it is easy to forget that these progressive and great human achievements in equality, acceptance and inclusiveness are not yet a reality everywhere.
One unpleasant and unacceptable example of the ignorant and hateful nature and mindset of some is the “World Congress of Families” (WCF), a group that has been engaging in anti-gay work in Russia (Russian LGBT propaganda law) and Uganda (Uganda Anti-Homosexuality Act, 2014-Originally proposed with a death penalty clause for LGBT, later “mitigated” to life in prison after an international media storm) among other countries.
WCF is considered to be a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center and The Human Rights Campaign called WCF “one of the most influential groups in America promoting and coordinating the exportation of anti-LGBT bigotry, ideology and legislation abroad” and went on to state that their international conferences comprise “the most fringe activists engaged in anti-LGBT extremism.”
This year, the WCF conference is scheduled for Saturday August 30, 2014 in Melbourne Australia, with the Abbott government’s Social Services Minister Kevin Andrews scheduled to open the conference. In response to this plan and with great public support, the Australian Senate yesterday Thursday August 28, 2014,passed a motion calling for “all politicians to boycott this anti-gay, anti-choice conference that spreads discredited harmful myths, including that abortion causes breast cancer.” Today, in response to public pressure, Minister Kevin Andrews canceled his plans to open the conference (South Australia Senator Cory Bernardi
who compared marriage equality to bestiality, had to resign from the Australian government because of public outrage his comments generated).
As of Wednesday, August 27, 2014, no location was available to WCF in Melbourne (Melbourne Gay Star News). The Guardian reports that WCF was turned down by four venues due to public protests.
In a late announcement today (day before the conference is scheduled to start) the right-wing Christian group Catch the Fire Ministries agreed to host the WCF conference.
What is fascinating and inspiring about this story is that it was all due to individuals and grass roots organizations making their strong feelings heard and putting pressure of politicians and business to do the right thing. Plans of protests and demonstrations created a potential safety risk which motivated the Melbourne Police to warn WCF from having the conference. Petitions and media coverage put pressure on the Australian Government to distance themselves from the WCF, and the newly released report about the group from The Human Rights Campaign: “Exposed: The World Congress of Families, An American Organization Exporting Hate,” brought to light WCF’s hate and abhorrent opinions, actions, beliefs and philosophy.
People have the power to effect change. All we need is the will to act, the discipline to organize and the strength to persist until success. It is up to us to do the right thing and fight for the best society and humanity possible.