A letter published in a Dominican Republic newspaper this week attacked U.S. Ambassador James “Wally” Brewster because he is gay. This letter, as reported in the Washington Blade, is signed by high ranking members of the Catholic Church and a number of well-known private citizens, and insults the Ambassador by calling on the Dominican government to declare the U.S. diplomat “persona non-grata.” The signers attack the United States and Ambassador Brewster for supporting equality in the Dominican Republic, and “express their indignation” at the U.S. “crusade for homosexuaity.” It suggests that the appointment of Ambassador Brewster “shames the modesty of the majority of the Dominican population . . .”
“It is deeply upsetting that representatives of the Catholic Church are calling for the Dominican government to declare U.S. diplomat persona non grata because of his sexual orientation,” said Ty Cobb, director of HRC Global. “Ambassador Brewster is an exemplary representative of the U.S. government, and he has worked tirelessly in the Dominican Republic to fight corruption and support the human rights of all Dominicans. Instead of hurling insults at Ambassador Brewster, individuals like Cardinal Nicolás de Jesús López Rodriguez, should be joining the Ambassador as he works to support the most vulnerable. The Vatican must publicly reject the recent actions of Cardinal López and re-focus its leadership on spiritual fulfillment and helping those in need.”
The U.S. State Department also criticized the letter, saying, “We disagree in the strongest of terms with these characterizations of Ambassador Brewster and our foreign policy.”
This latest attack is part of a long-running campaign by high-ranking Catholic clergy against the appointment of Ambassador Brewster. It comes on the heels of two recent blasts from Cardinal López. In early December, the Cardinal insulted Brewster by saying, "This man needs to go back to his embassy - he should stick to housework, since he is a man’s wife." A few days later, he called Brewster "a faggot" saying “he should go home.”
In response to those attacks, HRC President Chad Griffin called on Pope Francis to condemn Cardinal López's anti-LGBT slurs and demonstrate that the Catholic Church does not tolerate such hate and bigotry. U.S. Senator Dick Durbin (D-Ill.) has also called on Pope Francis to intervene and to speak out against Cardinal López's statements, saying they are out of step with the Church's teachings. To date there has been no response from the Vatican, and HRC continues to call on its more than 1.5 million members and supporters to condemn this anti-LGBT bigotry.