Family Feud

Local group protesting right-wing Christian group's ties to Ugandan homophobia

by Will O’Bryan
Published on January 31, 2010, 11:13pm | Comments

Full Equality Now DC (FENDC), a group evolved from the local host committee of October's National Equality March, are turning their activist aim at The Family, a cabal of powerfully connected Christian fundamentalists. And while all the action is local, this conflict has its roots in Uganda.

As the Ugandan Parliament considers the ''Anti-Homosexuality Bill,'' which carries penalties as severe as execution in some circumstances, FENDC is protesting what role The Family may have played in inspiring such draconian legislation. After all, the member of Parliament who penned the bill, David Bahati, was initially expected to attend the group's annual National Prayer Breakfast, to be held at the Washington Hilton, Thursday, Feb. 4. While Bahati did not respond to an e-mailed request for comment from Metro Weekly, the Box Turtle Bulletin blog has reported that Bahati will not be attending.

That's not going to stop FENDC from holding a protest at The Family's Capitol Hill compound on the eve of the breakfast, Wednesday night.

''We're certainly heartened to hear that [Bahati will not attend],'' says Colin MacDonald, a FENDC spokesperson. ''But part of what we're saying is what we want The Family in the United States to show is that they don't support what's going on in Uganda.''

In hopes of generating such a statement, FENDC's protest, co-sponsored by Foreign Policy in Focus, will begin at 5:30 p.m. at 133 C St. SE.

''It's very difficult for us to make this claim that we're doing what's right, fighting for equality for all, if it stops at this arbitrary line – the border,'' adds MacDonald, a former Californian now attending George Washington University, who says his LGBT activism was amplified following the passage of Proposition 8. ''In other countries, for being exactly who I am here, the government would threaten to put me to death. It's hypocritical not to step up.''

In a further counter to the National Prayer Breakfast, a dozen LGBT-affirming groups are organizing simultaneous American Prayer Hours in sites around the country. While Truth Wins Out has taken the lead for the American Prayer Hours, the affiliated organizations, aside from FENDC, include the National Gay and Lesbian Task Force, the National Black Justice Coalition, the Human Rights Campaign and Faith in America. The local event, featuring gospel singer Ray Boltz, will be held at Calvary Baptist Church, 755 8th St. NW, at 10 a.m.

A press release announcing the protest and prayer hour, also quoted FENDC's Laura Lising: ''We call on all National Prayer Breakfast invitees to publicly denounce Uganda's efforts to pass such a bill and work to restrain The Family's homophobic agenda in the U.S. and abroad.''

For more about Full Equality Now DC or these events, visit fullequalitynowdc.org.