HRC continues to support former HRC board member and current U.S. Ambassador to the Dominican Republic James “Wally” Brewster. Though vicious verbal attacks of the ambassador and his pro-equality efforts continue, he remains committed to his current appointment. Ambassador Brewster, with support from the Obama Administration, has made it clear that he has no intention of stepping down.
In 2013, Wally Brewster was confirmed as the fifth openly gay ambassador and was sworn-in as U.S. Ambassador to the Dominican Republic. He has since worked to fight corruption and support the rights of all Dominicans.
Ambassador Brewster, and his partner of over 25 years, first came under attack late last year, when Cardinal Nicolás de Jesús López Rodríguez made anti-LGBT comments about the two. Cardinal Lopez claimed that Ambassador Brewster should “stick to housework, since he is a man’s wife.” He went on to call Ambassador Brewster a “faggot” and insisted that “he should go home.”
Following these outrageous remarks, HRC President Chad Griffin called on Pope Francis to condemn the Cardinal’s anti-LGBT slurs. However, the Pope remained silent and the attacks continued. In January, high-ranking members of the Catholic Church, as well as several well-known private citizens, signed a letter calling on the Dominican government to declare the U.S. diplomat “persona non-grata.” Both HRC and the U.S. State Department criticized the letter.
Most recently, Ambassador Brewster was the target of an online petition calling on President Obama to remove Ambassador Brewster from his post. The petition has over 30,000 signatures. Additionally, the College of St. John the Baptist in Santo Domingo posted a banner at the front entrance of the school banning Ambassador Brewster from school grounds.
Despite these continued attacks, the U.S. government continues to support Ambassador Brewster. Seventy-one members of U.S. House of Representatives signed a letter to the Dominican government today expressing support for him and the President’s National Security Advisor Susan Rice reiterated this support in a statement earlier this month.
"[Ambassador Brewster] has the full support of this President, this White House and the entire U.S. government and I know he will continue to advocate tirelessly for the interests of the United States in the Dominican Republic," she said. "Bigotry in any form is against the universal values that we promote and does not support the social inclusion that we believe is important for a free society to succeed. We will continue to support Ambassador Brewster as he advances universal human rights."
HRC is deeply concerned about recent efforts from religious leaders and others to remove Ambassador Brewster from his post and stands with President Obama in rejecting these unacceptable and insulting requests.