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Sunday 12 April 2015

Bob's Sydney Outing

Posted in: Comment
By Craig Young - 26th March 2013

Family First anti-gay activist Bob McCoskrie is heading across the Tasman to Sydney in May 2013, obviously not for Mardi Gras! No, McCoskrie is a participant in an international Christian Right networking event called the "World Congress of Families".

It hasn't been a good year for much of the international Christian Right over course of 2012-13. In the United Kingdom, France, New Zealand and Uruguay, the first readings of marriage equality bills have already occurred, and are on course to be passed within all four jurisdictions during the course of this year. In Canada, the Canadian Christian Right is also likely to lose its highly unpleasant campaign against Bill C-279, a federal transgender rights and equality bill, which has included unsubstantiated claims that transgender rights will result in imaginary "transvestite rapists and pedophiles" lurking in public lavatories and women's changing rooms as a sign of how low the debate has gotten. Even in the United States, things are looking up, with the re-election of the Obama administration and its advocacy for marriage equality in the US Supreme Court, against the federal antigay "Defence of Marriage Act" (DOMA) and California's anti-equality "Proposition 8", as well as the passage of marriage equality referenda in Maine, Maryland, and Washington state last year.

Despite the multiple setbacks, the US Christian Right still (predictably) dominates the so-called "World Congress of Families", which has still not finalised its procession of (pseudo)"academic" "family scholarship" papers at the networking event, according to its website- despite the fact that it is now less that is only two months away. The "World Congress" was established in 1997 and the Sydney gabfest will be the seventh such event. However, one such paper title is "The Impact on Children of Legalising Same-Sex Marriage," so one can expect the worst.

Amongst the "keynote speakers" are Patrick Fagan of the antigay US Christian Right's Family Research Council, Janice Crouse of the antifeminist group "Concerned Women for America," Australian Catholic Cardinal George Pell, elderly Australian antifeminist Babette Francis of "Endeavour Forum", Peter Westmore ("Australian Family Association"), and extremist Australian fundamentalist activist Bill Muehlenberg- oh yes, and Bob McCoskrie, for our own Family First. Its members include the Australian Family Association, Christian Concern (United Kingdom), Concerned Women for America, Endeavour Forum, Focus on the Family (US), Human Life International (US), the National Organisation for Marriage (US), REAL Women of Canada and Latin America's "Tradition, Family and Property." The above is a what's what of international anti-gay, anti-feminist and anti-abortion groups. Given that Christian Concern (UK), Focus on the Family, Family First, REAL Women, Human Life International and NOM all have track records of antigay activism, particularly against marriage equality and same-sex parenting in recent years, no doubt that will be a keen subject of discussion.

But why is McCoskrie headed off on this overseas junket? Surely, given this event is to be held in May 2013, it will be one month after the passage of New Zealand's own marriage equality legislation? One suspects that Bob will probably ask the US Christian Right organisations assembled there for money to fund his probable anti-equality referendum against marriage equality, given that the US Christian Right usually subsidises its satellites. Good luck. The United States is heavily into recession, and seems to be concentrating its efforts in France and the United Kingdom at present, as well as the ongoing US Supreme Court litigation against DOMA and Proposition 8. If McCoskrie wants donor cash to compensate for the lack of available donor funds from New Zealand sources, he may find that his far right US colleagues have little money to offer him.

If we're lucky, he might get a job with a US or Australian Christian Right pressure group, shut down his laughable pressure group, and stop being a nuisance instead.

Not Recommended:
World Congress of Families:
Family First:

Craig Young - 26th March 2013

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