Gwen Landolt Register file photo

REAL Women of Canada fights back against 'media firestorm'

  • August 12, 2013

OTTAWA - REAL Women of Canada does not support persecution of homosexuals, despite what has been written in a media firestorm responding to the organization's Aug. 7 news release accusing Foreign Affairs Minister John Baird of abuse of office for funding homosexual activism overseas.

“(Baird) awarded $200,000 of Canadian taxpayers’ money by way of the Department of Foreign Affairs to special interest groups in Uganda and Kenya to further his own perspective on homosexuality,” said the release quoting REAL Women’s national vice president Gwen Landolt. “He also insulted the speaker of the Ugandan Parliament, Rebecca Kadaga, at a meeting of the International Parliamentary Union in Quebec City when he criticized Uganda for its position on homosexuality and same-sex marriage.”

In many mainstream media outlets, the conservative, pro-life and pro-family organization has been painted as in support of a proposed Ugandan law to make homosexual acts punishable by the death penalty. It did not help that Landolt, when questioned by the CBC, said: “It may be unwise by Western standards, but who are we to interfere in a sovereign country?”

In an Aug. 12 interview, Landolt clarified her position and that of her organization, saying “REAL Women deplores persecution of anyone for any reason because of their orientation,” and that it "is not a newly minted policy.”

“This is what the media seems to ignore,” she said. “We do not support persecution of any kind.”

She points to an article in an issue of REALity, the group’s newsletter, that said: “Although many Canadians have sound moral, social and legal objections to the practice of homosexuality, most reasonable people would agree that homosexuals should not be tortured, jailed or killed because of their sexual orientation.” In that article, REAL Women accused Baird of going beyond merely protecting homosexuals against criminal prosecution and promoting “a broad spectrum of homosexual rights, including same-sex marriage.”

Landolt reiterated her group’s opposition to giving $200,000 to homosexual groups in Uganda to agitate politically against the law.

“There are appropriate channels that could be used, for example diplomatic channels,” she said, as well as economic sanctions.

Her main objection is a perceived double-standard. The foreign affairs minister funds overseas groups engaged in homosexual activism while at home Canadians who support traditional marriage face fines, loss of employment or prosecution via human rights tribunals for exercising their conscientious rights in opposition to same-sex marriage, she said.

“We’re being put at the back of the bus. Homosexual activists insist their rights take precedence over freedom of religion and traditional values. If you fail to comply you face loss of employment or are brought before human rights tribunals for very severe punishment.”

REAL Women has also been cast as in favour of Russia’s new laws criminalizing homosexual propaganda aimed at youth because its release noted Baird had “admitted working extensively behind the scenes to prevent Russia from passing legislation designated to protect Russian minors from homosexual propaganda.”

Landolt clarified she did not support Russia’s measures to clamp down on free expression.

“Freedom of religion is so basic and yet we’re not allowed to have it in Canada,” she said.

The distinction between a view promoting homosexual “rights” vs. protecting homosexuals from unjust persecution by the state for their sexual orientation has been lost — perhaps by a lack of clarity in the original release, misspeaking or deliberate misconstruing. Landolt said she wonders if the mainstream media hopes to “shut us down permanently.”

“If they think that, they don’t know us,” Landolt said. “We intend to continue to speak out for religious freedom, traditional values, for the family and for life.”

Please support The Catholic Register

Unlike many media companies, The Catholic Register has never charged readers for access to the news and information on our website. We want to keep our award-winning journalism as widely available as possible. But we need your help.

For more than 125 years, The Register has been a trusted source of faith-based journalism. By making even a small donation you help ensure our future as an important voice in the Catholic Church. If you support the mission of Catholic journalism, please donate today. Thank you.