The GOP-Islamic Alliance Against the Gays

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The anti-gay contingent of the Republican Party has found some strange new bedfellows. Foreign Policy‘s Colum Lynch reports that some House Republicans are coming to the defense of some of the United Nations’ most conservative Islamic governments who want to exclude the U.S.-based International Gay and Lesbian Human Rights Commission from participating in UN meetings. The Republican attack comes as the Obama administration has made a push for the LGBT group’s UN accreditation, which would allow them to participate in UN meetings on human rights, health, and other issues, alongside thousands of other non-governmental organizations. Lynch explains:

Congressional Republicans Rep. Christopher H. Smith (R-NJ) and Rep. Trent Franks (R-Az) have rallied behind a coalition of Islamic governments urging foreign governments to oppose a U.S.-led effort to support a bid by an American gay and lesbian organization to gain full-fledged membership as a U.N. nongovernment organization… In a letter to U.N. members, Smith and Franks expressed concern that the U.S. initiative would improperly bypass a U.N. committee, which is dominated by socially conservative Islamic governments, that normally accredits U.N. NGOs…

In criticizing the current U.S. position, Smith and Franks drew upon arguments presented by Egypt and other conservative governments that allow little freedom of expression on their own soil….Egypt’s representative, Wael Attiya, raised concern back in June that such principles could be used to subject religious leaders, who condemn homosexual behavior, to be persecuted. If a “preacher says that a relationship between same sex [couples] is wrong, will the preacher be hunted,” he said in June.

So this appears to be one of those times when conservative anti-gay paranoia trumps conservative anti-Islam paranoia. It’s a particularly bold move for Franks, who was among the House Republicans who demanded that the chamber’s sergeant-at-arms investigate the possibility of “Muslim intern spies” infiltrating congressional offices on Capitol Hill. But when it comes to rallying against the gays, some GOP social conservatives have decided that the enemy of your enemy really should be your friend.

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THE BIG PICTURE

You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

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