Outraged religious groups in the Dominican Republic are demanding that the conservative Caribbean country reject the nomination of a gay U.S. ambassador, calling the mere idea of him serving an "insult."
James "Wally" Brewster would be the seventh openly gay U.S. ambassador in history if Dominican President Danilo Medina doesn’t fold under pressure from religious figures.
"It's an insult to good Dominican customs," Rev. Cristobal Cardozo, leader of the Dominican Evangelical Fraternity, said in a statement.
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Vicar Pablo Cedano called President Barack Obama's nomination of Brewster "a lack of respect, of consideration, that they send us that kind of person as ambassador."
"If he arrives, he'll suffer and will be forced to leave," Cedano said, according to The Associated Press.
Gay activists have spoken out in Brewster's defense, saying that the words of the Dominican religious officials are filled with hate.
The U.S. Embassy, too, has upheld Brewster's nomination.
"Brewster arrives as an ambassador, he's not coming here as an activist for the gay community," U.S. Embassy spokesman Daniel Foote said in a statement.
Brewster is a National LGBT Co-Chair for the Democratic National Committee and is on the board of the Human Rights Campaign fund, according to the Chicago Sun-Times.
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"Wally Brewster is an excellent choice to be our nation's ambassador to the Dominican Republic," Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin said in a statement. "His global business and management expertise is matched by his enthusiasm and commitment to human rights and democracy around the world. Wally's political intelligence and work in public affairs and communications make would make him a valuable contribution to our nation’s diplomatic efforts."
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