The right wing anti-gay and anti-abortion World Congress of Families conference scheduled to be held in Melbourne, Australia this Saturday appears to be becoming a shambles, with it not even having found a venue just days before it is supposed to start.
The event had initially been going to be held in Mentone St Patrick’s parish hall but the venue withdrew after police advised the venue not to host the event because of security concerns.
Event organizers then moved the event to St Cecelia’s Catholic Church in Glen Iris but that venue also turned them down.
Event organizers then tried to book wedding venue Aurora Receptions in East Brunswick as the venue for the conference but they turned them down as did another unnamed venue.
Australian Government MPs who will be attending the conference are taking flak in the media over their endorsement of the event which will hear speakers repeat discredited claims, for example that there is a link between having an abortion and developing breast cancer.
New South Wales independent state MP Alex Greenwich wrote to Australian Social Services Minister Kevin Andrews to try to dissuade him from attending the conference.
‘Your attendance and endorsement of the WCF conference risks embarrassing Australia’s human rights record and is in direct contradiction of the work done by the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade in counties such as Uganda, Nigeria, and Russia to support their LGBTI citizens and advocate for fairer laws,’ Greenwich wrote to Andrews.
‘The World Congress of Families supports a narrow and discriminatory definition of families, your attendance and support of them risks condoning their exportation of anti-LGBTI bigotry, ideology, and legislation abroad.’
However Andrews has refused to – saying that it is appropriate for him to open and close the conference as ‘families’ fall under his portfolio.
Australian Government leader in the Senate, Eric Abetz, has also been a prominent government supporter of the conference and he too has refused calls for him not to attend.
In the lead up to the conference the US based Human Rights Campaign released a damning report about the World Congress of Families in which it detailed its role in spreading hatred towards LGBTI people around the world.
Human Rights director of Global Engagement Ty Cobb said that the group was instrumental in exporting homophobia around the world.
‘The World Congress of Families coordinates a dangerous group of activists spreading anti-LGBT rhetoric and promoting laws and policies that criminalize LGBT people and the speech of those who support them,’ Cobb said.
‘They praise Vladimir Putin as the standard-bearer for traditional “family values” and honored a Nigerian activist who claims LGBT advocates conspire with the terrorist group Boko Haram with a “Woman of the Year” award. Their advocacy abroad harms LGBT people from Russia to Nigeria and beyond. Hate is not an American value, and we must expose and work to stop the World Congress of Families and their extremist allies.’
The World Congress of Families was originally planning to hold its 2014 conference in Moscow but it had to pull out because of the conflict with Ukraine.
It plans to hold its first conference on American soil in 2015 in Salt Lake City, Utah.