Dominican religious group wants U.S. to remove gay U.S. ambassador

James "Wally" Brewster was appointed U.S. ambassador to the Dominican Republic in June of 2013

Story highlights

  • The Dominican Council of Evangelical Unity says James "Wally" Brewster openly promoted a homosexual agenda to youths
  • The U.S. ambassador to the Dominican Republic says he's helping the country and strongly opposes discrimination
  • The White House and President support Brewster, U.S. national security adviser says

(CNN)To the ambassador, it was an educational visit, an opportunity to talk about the United Nations and the chance to interact with young students, he said, to have a conversation about the world's different countries and cultures.

But for the Dominican Council of Evangelical Unity, or CODUE by its Spanish acronym, James "Wally" Brewster, U.S. ambassador to the Dominican Republic, was openly promoting a homosexual agenda to young, vulnerable minds.
CODUE has launched a petition on the White House's website. Its purpose is "to remove the U.S. ambassador in the Dominican Republic" for promoting "an LGBT agenda inconsistent with the Christian cultural values and tradition" of the country.
    As of this writing, the petition had collected just over 30,000 signatures. To be considered, it has to gather at least 69,927.
    Brewster suggests those asking for his removal seem to ignore the multiple actions taken during his tenure that have greatly benefited the Dominican Republic.
    "Not everybody is always going to agree with the measures we've taken in cooperation with the Dominican Republic or how we manage our relationship. There's great work that we're doing in partnership with the Dominican government, especially in law enforcement areas," he said.
    President Obama appointed Brewster, a major fundraiser for his 2012 campaign, as U.S. ambassador to the Dominican Republic in June of 2013.
    But the 55-year-old openly gay Chicago businessman faced opposition from religious leaders in the Caribbean country from the beginning, especially because he was also known for serving on the national board of directors of the Human Rights Campaign, a prominent gay rights group.
    When he arrived in the Dominican Republic in late November of 2013 to begin his tenure, he brought along a first for a male U.S. ambassador in the Caribbean nation: a husband.
    "My spouse, Bob, and I have traveled the world, from the far reaches of Asia to the stunning coastlines of southern Europe," Brewster said in a video introducing himself on the U.S. Embassy's website.
    Then husband Bob Satawake chimed in: "But we always return to the beauty of the Dominican Republic."
    Earlier this month, CODUE, a coalition of evangelical Christian churches, reacted angrily when Brewster helped launch the LGBT Chamber of Commerce, accompanied by Satawake.
    But the strongest reaction came when he visited a school where, according to Fidel Lorenzo, CODUE's president, Brewster was not helping students learn about the world, but promoting a gay agenda, at an event where he showed up with his husband.
    "It's not only about pointing out and prohibiting homosexual practices. There's also a systematic violation of Dominican laws, our sovereignty and identity, principles that we shouldn't negotiate with. In his reelection speech, President Obama said that 'no one is above the law.' However, this ambassador violates our laws every day without remorse," Lorenzo said.
    Article 55 of the Dominican Constitution establishes that marriage must be between a man and a woman.
    U.S. National Security Adviser Susan Rice said in a statement Friday that Brewster continues to have the support of the White House.
    "President Obama chose Ambassador Brewster to represent the United States government in the Dominican Republic because of his outstanding credentials, integrity and dedication to the advancing the interests of this country. He has the full support of this President, this White House and the entire U.S. government and I know he will continue to advocate tirelessly for the interests of the United States in the Dominican Republic," Rice said.
    Meanwhile, another evangelical Christian group has demanded Brewster's removal. The Federation of Cibao Pastors is asking the Dominican government to declare the ambassador persona non grata and expel him from the country.
    Brewster insists he's only representing the interests of the United States to the best of his ability and helping Dominicans in any way he can.
      While observing the International Day of Zero Discrimination on March 1, the ambassador announced the U.S. government is contributing $15.5 million a year to fight AIDS.
      Brewster said he also strongly opposes discrimination against vulnerable groups, "including women, persons of color, persons with disabilities, socio-economic discrimination and members of the LGBTI community, among others."