Gay U.S. ambassador designate to Dominican draws criticism

July 2, 2013 at 2:30 PM
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SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic, July 2 (UPI) -- U.S. President Barack Obama's choice of an openly gay man to serve as ambassador to the Dominican Republic has drawn a rebuke from a Catholic bishop.

Obama nominated James "Wally" Brewster to serve as America's top diplomat in the predominantly Catholic, socially conservative Dominican Republic. Gay marriage is illegal in the Dominican and the nation recently enacted a controversial ban on abortion.

Fresh off two momentous victories for gays in America last week, officials in Santo Domingo said they're worried the United States is trying to export gay rights.

Monsignor Pablo Cedano, auxiliary Catholic bishop of Santo Domingo, said Brewster's nomination shows "a lack of sensitivity, of respect by the United States."

Brewster, a top Obama fundraiser from Chicago, was the national Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender outreach coordinator for the Democratic National Committee and sits on the board of the Human Rights Campaign, a pro-gay marriage group. He is a brand consultant who's helped design several of the nation's largest shopping centers.

Cedano said Brewster's position on gay rights "is far from our cultural reality," and added "he's going to suffer" from the cultural differences.

The Miami Herald said Monday the fact that the White House has announced Brewster as the ambassador designate implies the Dominican government has been consulted and approved of the choice. If he is confirmed to the post by the U.S. Senate it would be highly unlikely the Dominican government would not accept him to the post.

Brewster is one of five openly gay ambassadors Obama named in his second term.

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