Petition urges Obama to remove gay ambassador in DR from post
A petition that has been posted to the White House website urges President Obama to remove gay U.S. Ambassador to the Dominican Republic James “Wally” Brewster from his post.
The petition — which an anonymous person posted on Tuesday — accuses Brewster of promoting “an LGBT agenda inconsistent with the Christian cultural values and tradition of the Dominican Republic.”
It specifically criticizes Brewster and his husband, Bob Satawake, for visiting a school. The petition also notes the two men “supported” last week’s official launch of the National Gay and Lesbian Chamber of Commerce’s latest international affiliate in the Dominican Republic.
The petition says the U.S. Agency for International Development is “also supporting LGBT activities with their current budget.”
“Though we have proved to be a tolerant country, we deem this agenda disrespectful to the culture and traditions of most Dominican families,” it reads.
The petition currently has 15,949 signatures. It needs an additional 84,051 signatures by April 7 in order to prompt the White House to respond.
Neither the White House nor the State Department on Wednesday immediately responded to the Washington Blade’s request for comment on the petition.
U.S. officials, Dominican advocates defend gay 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.
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 todeclare the out U.S. ambassador as “persona non grata” because of a U.S.-backed initiative they contend seeks “to turn our adolescents gay.”
“We disagree in the strongest of terms with these characterizations of Ambassador Brewster and our foreign policy,” State Department spokesperson Poola Jhunjhunwala told the Washington Blade in response to the letter. “Ambassador Brewster, like all U.S. ambassadors, advances this policy along with all other aspects of the U.S. relationship with the Dominican Republic.”
A group of Dominican LGBT rights advocates on Wednesday posted their own petition to the White House website in support of Brewster.
The petition says that Brewster should remain in his post because he promotes an “agenda consistent with open-minded people’s values of the Dominican Republic.” It also notes the gay ambassador “involves his spouse in official activities as he should.”
“We choose love, not hate,” reads the petition. “We choose to accept, not discriminate.”
Cristian Ramírez Reyes, a Dominican LGBT rights advocate, on Wednesday criticized those who continue to oppose Brewster because of his sexual orientation.
“This is only a reflection of the homophobia that continues to exist in this country,” Ramírez told the Blade. “If this is what the ambassador of the United States is facing, you can only imagine what common GLBT people who don’t have a political agenda are up against.”
“It is really unfortunate that this has come to pass, but it is necessary in order to make the changes that are needed in our country,” added Ramírez.
March 9, 2016
Category: DR News |