In recent years, the United States has played a significant role protecting the rights of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people, both domestically and internationally, consistent with the universality of human rights as inclusive and indivisible.

And yet, the US has included the Center for Family and Human Rights (C-Fam), a group that supports the criminalization of homosexuality, in the US delegation to the United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW). Strange bedfellows? Apparently not.

U.S. Ambassador to the United Nations Nikki Haley speaks in the U.N. Security Council at U.N. headquarters in New York City, U.S., February 28, 2017.

© 2017 Reuters

What does C-Fam stand for? Remember the outrage in the US over Russia’s “gay propaganda law” that gave permission to discriminate against LGBT people and led to a surge in violence with impunity? C-Fam is an ardent supporter of Russia’s propaganda law.

C-Fam’s director and most visible spokesperson, Austin Ruse, has called “‘the homosexual lifestyle’ harmful to public health and morals.” C-Fam regularly publishes articles attacking the fundamental human rights of LGBT people and is vehemently opposed to women’s rights, including reproductive rights. C-Fam does not accept the need for gender equality and actually aims to undermine international agreements to end discrimination, in particular the Convention on the Elimination of All Forms of Discrimination against Women (CEDAW), which the US has signed but not ratified.

Under the guise of supporting families, C-Fam promotes an agenda of intolerance. Last year, ahead of a high-level meeting at the UN on the family co-sponsored by C-Fam, Ruse denounced marriage equality, saying that “the family is under extreme pressure at the UN from those who want to redefine the family and to accept the notion that two people of the same sex can create a family and adopt children.”  Lisa Correnti, C-Fam’s executive vice president and chosen US delegate, has repeated attacked the LGBT community and policies that support the human rights of LGBT people.

It is an unusual move for the US to include a group opposed to fundamental human rights in its CSW delegation. What message is the US sending around the globe? Surely this is not what UN Ambassador Nikki Haley had in mind when she pledged to “unabashedly promote American values.”