So it was understandable that the World Congress of Families would want to have a meeting there, especially given that their latest crusade is praising and supporting the Russian crackdown on homosexuality and the passing of a draconian law that forbids the "public promotion of homosexuality." This caused consternation worldwide, given that the winter Olympics are set to begin in Russia in a few weeks.
The WCF further wants to use the Russian experience to redouble its efforts to reverse our progressive laws extending marriage equality, over-turning DADT and DOMA. So they sought -- and obtained -- help from Sen. Mark Kirk's (R-IL) office in scheduling a meeting room. His staff did not know the group's mission or its reputation; "World Congress of Families" sound like . . . well, a family thing, doesn't it?
To their credit, on finding out the night before the meeting who they are and what they do, the staff cancelled the room assignment; and Sen. Kirk issued a statement that he in no way is connected with the organization nor supports their cause.
JOHN BOEHNER TO THE RESCUE !!!! He quickly arranged a meeting space for the group, saying that his office routinely arranges meetings space for groups that want to discuss public policy and that this administrative task does not imply any endorsement of the groups or their discussions.
Chad Griffin, President of the Human Rights Campaign countered with this statement:
"Speaker Boehner's embrace of these ambassadors of hate is shameful and despicable. These individuals have supported the subhuman treatment of LGBT people around the world, and now they want to do the same here. . . . The fact that the Speaker would welcome a panelist who praised Uganda’s proposal to sentence gay people to death should shock the conscience of all Americans."Although I support freedom of speech and defend the right of this group to their opinions, I'm with the HRC on this. We should not lend the legitimacy of the U. S. Capitol to the promotion of beliefs and practices that run so counter to the laws and the values of our land. Would the Speaker schedule a room for the promotions of an anarchist group? An anti-Christian group? How about a group promoting the re-legalization of slavery? Or child abuse?
Sometimes the appropriate thing is to Just Say No, Mr. Speaker. The fact that he did not in this case adds to the long list of his awfulness. A few recent examples of senate-passed bills that also have the overwhelming backing of the American people, but which Boehner refuses to bring to the House floor are: immigration reform, the employment nondiscrimination act (ENDA), and expanded background checks at gun sale. Even Republicans favor them by 70 or 80%. Even NRA members supports the background checks. And these bills would probably pass the House with bipartisan support. But Beohner refuses to bring them up. It's clear that he is doing the bidding of the Tea Party and its wealthy donors, not what the majority of the American people want.