The World Congress of Families joins The Family Association of Latvia in condemning the decision by Ambassador Judith Garber to participate in the Baltic Gay Pride Parade in Riga, Latvia held on June 2, 2012.
Garber recently stirred immense controversy in Latvia when she joined a small group of other U.S. ambassadors who announced they will participate in the event. Moreover, media outlets in the Baltic are reporting that Garber's participation is an extension of official U.S. policy. The Baltic Times recently reported on Garber's participation and stated: "The U.S. expresses its support for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender activities in Riga, as this corresponds with U.S. President Barack Obama's policy."
Managing Director of The World Congress of Families, Larry Jacobs said: "Garber's actions are outrageous. While we support the right of the U.S. Ambassador to Latvia to make statements and participate in events as a private citizen, the clear implication, which is being echoed by the media in Latvia, is that her participation is official U.S. policy. "
Jacobs continued, "Allowing this erroneous implication to continue constitutes a misuse of Ambassador Garber's office and shows an immense disrespect to the people of Latvia and the people of the United States, who both oppose so-called 'same-sex marriage' and support the natural family as the best way to renew a stable, civil, and free society. We call upon Garber and the United States government to immediately rectify this grave and erroneous implication that is also in violation of Article 16 of the Universal Declaration of Human Rights, which states in part that, 'The family is the natural and fundamental group unit of society and is entitled to protection by society and the state.'"
Members of The Family Association of Latvia issued a strong letter to Ambassador Garber's office which reads, in part: "We are deeply troubled by what we deem as a disrespectful behavior of the U.S. Ambassador to Latvia. In a country that is suffering from demographic decline it is appalling that a representative of the United States would so boldly and brazenly take a stance that is counter to the traditional values of the Latvian people and the natural family. Far too often in the world we hear of the stereotype of 'The Ugly American.' The US Ambassador by her stand to support the gay pride parade in opposition to the will of the people of Latvia is advancing and supporting this negative stereotype."
The letter goes on to state: "As a representative of the United States and a guest of the country of Latvia, why would the ambassador knowingly take such a controversial stance? The people of Latvia have voted to change their constitution to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman. [In the United States] an increasing number of states are voting to support marriage between a man and a woman. As the U.S. Ambassador, [Garber should] represent the ideals and the values of the people of the United States. As a private citizen Ms. Garber is free to express her views in any manner she likes but as an Ambassador she reflects the government and the will of the American people. The Latvian people have overwhelmingly shown their disapproval of gay marriage. By her participation in the gay pride parade the ambassador dismisses the values and beliefs of Latvians and so dishonors this nation."