This past weekend, Peter LaBarbera, founder of the Naperville, Ill.-based anti-gay hate group Americans for the Truth About Homosexuality (AFTAH), was in Jamaica pushing his extremist views. “Do not be like us, do not be like Britain, do not sit idly by as so-called ‘LGBT activists’ manipulate words and laws to achieve dominance in your country,” LaBarbera told a conference of Christian conservatives in the Caribbean country this weekend according to BuzzFeed.
LaBarbera spoke on Dec. 7 at a conference organized by the Jamaican Coalition for a Healthy Society and the Christian Lawyers’ Association in Kingston. These groups have lobbied against a possible repeal of a colonial-era law that bans same-sex intercourse, commonly referred to as the “buggery law.”
In her 2011 campaign, Jamaican Prime Minister Portia Simpson-Miller said that she might put the law to a vote. Her government has not yet taken any action on the legislation. BuzzFeed also reported that Justice Minister Mark Golding told the group that he hoped to raise it next year as part of a broad review of the country’s sexual offenses law. The Jamaican Coalition for a Healthy Society recently launched a video opposing the law’s repeal.
At the conference, LaBarbera reiterated the anti-gay propaganda that he has been spouting for years. “Homosexuals are made, they’re not born,” LaBarbera reportedly told the gathered evangelicals. He also told stories of people he claimed had stopped being gay or transgender thanks to Christian “ex-gay” therapy.
“The dirty little secret that the media and homosexual activists are desperate — desperate — to squelch is that people are coming out of homosexuality every day. This is the work of God, this is the work of Jesus,” LaBarbera said. He also told the group that he was working on a book on the connection between “homosexual activism and pedophiles.” He said that after winning rights like marriage and protection for gay kids in schools, U.S. activists were now championing the rights of MAPS, or “minor-attracted persons.” “Homosexuals are always on offense,” LaBarbera said.
LaBarbera founded AFTAH in 1996. A one-time reporter for the right-wing Washington Times, LaBarbera has been an energetic campaigner against “the radical homosexual agenda” since at least 1993, when he launched The Lambda Report, which claimed to do first-hand reporting to expose its gay enemies. AFTAH is notable for its posting of the utterly discredited work of Paul Cameron of the anti-LBGT hate group Family Research Institute, who has falsely claimed that gays and lesbians live vastly shorter lives than heterosexuals, among many other discredited claims. AFTAH’s website also carries essays describing homosexuality as a “lethal behavior addiction,” a “dangerous” practice that is “neither normal nor benign.”
LaBarbera isn’t the only American preaching anti-LGBT hate abroad. As American groups opposed to LGBT rights are increasingly finding American audiences less receptive to their message, they are moving instead to spread their noxious propaganda overseas. As the Southern Poverty Law Center documented this past summer, anti-LGBT groups including the Scottsdale, Ariz.-based Christian law firm Alliance Defending Freedom have been active in Belize in supporting that Caribbean country’s law criminalizing gay sex. That law is currently being evaluated for its constitutionality by Belize’s highest court.
Scott Lively, who wrote a book claiming the Nazis were gay, has also been pushing his views around the world. In a 2007 open letter to the Russian people, he asserted, “homosexuality is a personality disorder that involves various, often dangerous sexual addictions and aggressive, anti-social impulses.” In 2009, Lively went to Uganda to speak at a major conference on the evils of homosexuality, saying, among other things: “The gay movement is an evil institution. The goal of the gay movement is to defeat the marriage-based society and replace it with a culture of sexual promiscuity.” He also met with Ugandan lawmakers. A month after Lively left the country, a bill was introduced that called for the death penalty for certain homosexual acts and prison for those who fail to disclose gays’ identities.
These efforts inject reasons to hate the LGBT community into areas where anti-gay bigotry is already widespread. As BuzzFeed notes, LGBT Jamaicans regularly face hate violence. The site reports that at least two LGBT people are believed to have been murdered in Jamaica over the summer, while others have become the target of angry mobs, including four men who were the object of a firebomb in October.