Since President Donald Trump's November election, there has been a wave of hate incidents nationwide—and now he's chosen a leader from one group that has itself espoused violence to represent the U.S. on the international stage.
Earlier this week, the State Department announced that representatives from infamous anti-LGBTQ hate group the Center for Family and Human Rights (C-FAM) and from the far-right Heritage Foundation will represent the U.S. at a United Nations conference on women's rights later this month:
Trump State Department sent reps from C-FAM - a SPLC-recognized hate group - and Heritage to accompany Haley at UN women's rights conference pic.twitter.com/68swSVnShp
— Samuel Oakford (@samueloakford) March 15, 2017
Rep. Keith Ellison (D-Minn.) noted on Twitter: "Trump is sending hate groups to a U.N. conference on women's rights."
Slate's Christina Cauterucci summarized the groups' views, which not only include denigrating rights for women and LGBTQ people, but also antipathy toward the U.N. itself:
One delegate, Lisa Correnti, is an executive vice president at the Center for Family & Human Rights (C-FAM), which the Southern Poverty Law Center has labeled a hate group since 2014. C-FAM was explicitly formed in the '90s to push back against the rights of women in U.N. resolutions and policies. One of C-FAM's core missions is to advance laws that restrict the rights and protections of LGBTQ people; its president recently called contraception and gay rights "devilish gospel." The organization signed on in favor of Russia's anti-gay laws, which have led to arrests, prosecution, and physical assaults from government agents for gay Russians.
The Heritage Foundation will send to the CSW Grace Melton, the organization's associate for U.N. social issues and the author behind such riveting texts as "In Bed with Radical Feminists: The U.N.'s Misguided Women's Agenda." Her employer is one of the most high-profile anti-LGBTQ organizations in the country. The foundation likes to argue that laws preventing any kind of discrimination—in schools, housing, and employment, for instance—against LGBTQ people grant them "special privilege" and are contrary to the values of the United States. Heritage takes a special interest in advocating against protections for transgender people and insurance coverage for contraception. In advocating for the repeal of the Violence Against Women Act, the Heritage Foundation has called grants that fund the prevention of and response to violence against women "a misuse of federal resources and a distraction from concerns that truly are the province of federal government," claiming that the act is "watering down services" by including funds for incarcerated survivors of abuse. When Trump proposed cutting all 25 federal grant programs managed by the Office on Violence Against Women, it was under the advice of the Heritage Foundation.
"Fundamentalist notions about how women and girls should behave should never be the basis of advising or negotiating U.S. foreign policy," said Jessica Stern, executive director of the LGBTQ advocacy group OutRight International, in a statement.
"We want the State Department to be a beacon of freedom and safety for communities, and this is the opposite of that," Heidi Beirich, director of the Southern Poverty Law Center's (SPLC) Intelligence project, told Reuters.
"It is also a bad sign that two organizations that have tried to delegitimize the United Nations and human rights internationally now sit on the official U.S. delegation," added Stern. "Maybe the violent mentality that got C-FAM labeled a hate group successfully panders to their base, but the U.S. government must ensure protection for the world's most vulnerable people."