American conservative organizations and lawmakers offer support to Ugandan anti-LGBTQ bill

Plus, anti-migrant content brings in the big bucks and Wisconsin GOP pushes for relaxing of child labor standards.

Top Headlines

The new, draconian anti-LGBTQ laws that recently were passed in Uganda have received the backing from American conservatives organizations and lawmakers. 

The Anti-Homosexuality Act, which passed last May, doubles down on the country’s strict anti-LGBTQ standards — which criminalizes same-sex couples — by creating legal consequences for the “promotion of homosexuality” and a potential death penalty for those charged with “aggravated homosexuality.”

Though the new law is currently being refuted in Uganda’s courts on the basis of human rights violations, that hasn't deterred conservatives in the United States from supporting the legislation. 

In the month before the bill was signed into law, Ugandan President Yoweri Museveni met with Sharon Slater, an American whose organization Family Watch International (FWI) has pushed traditional family structures across the globe. 

“FWI is an Arizona-based anti-LGBTQ+ domestic and international legislative and policy organization. FWI works from within the United Nations and in other countries to peddle regressive anti-LGBTQ+, anti-reproductive rights and abstinence-only education beliefs,” the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) reported. “FWI appears to be behind one of the biggest anti-LGBTQ+ and anti-comprehensive sex educational convenings in Uganda, which was in April 2023.”

The SPLC also reported that the Museveni regime also received input from Scott Lively, another American anti-gay activist who leads Abiding Truth Ministries, a Massachuesetts-based faith organization that seeks to combat the “gay agenda.” 

Additionally, U.S. Rep. Tim Walberg (R-MI) traveled to Uganda to champion the legislation at a prayer breakfast held last October. He encouraged Miseveni to resist “other major countries that are trying to get into you and ultimately change you” after the Biden administration and other countries proposed economic consequences for the bill — including terminating a loan program organized by the World Bank.

Walberg told the prayer breakfast crowd that they knew which side they wanted to be on. “God’s side. Not the World Bank. Not the United States of America, necessarily. Not the U.N. [United Nations]. No. God’s side,” he exclaimed.

Media Roundup 

Reactionary media personalities that traveled to the U.S.-Mexico border with the xenophobic “Take Our Border Back” convoy appear to have monetized their trip. According to new reporting at WIRED Magazine, Dennis Yarbery, a right-wing YouTuber, live-streamed his encounters at border camps in Arizona and California, where he verbally harassed migrants with threats of violence and accusations that they were human traffickers. 

At one point during the stream, Yarbery, whose account is called “MasterGrifter,” was joined by Josh Fulfer, who posts under the moniker “OreoExpress,” and Joe Felix, who is also known as “Taco Joe” online. He claimed the trio was a group of “illegal hunters.” 

“I’ve hunted a lot in my life, but I’ve never actually hunted people, and that’s what we’re doing now,” Yarbery said.

All the while, the three right-wing influencers received money via “YouTube’s Super Chat function or through other platforms like Venmo and the Christian-aligned crowdfunding site GiveSendGo,” according to WIRED’s David Gilbert. 

YouTube eventually foreclosed Fulfer and Felix’s accounts, but Yarbery’s profile remains intact as of writing — albeit with the entirety of his video content removed. 

Local Lens

Republicans across the country are continuing their efforts to erode state-level child labor laws. And opposition to their plans has forced them to trot out the same old rhetoric: You’re a communist if you don’t want teenagers working 12-hour shifts during the school week. 

This time, the culprits were Wisconsin Democrats who opposed a bill that would eliminate work permits for adolescents as young as 14. 

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Jamie Larson