By Peter Montgomery
There’s no reason to think the increasingly global culture war between advocates and opponents of LGBT equality will let up this year. In fact, the opposite is true: opponents of LGBT equality are working hard to build a stronger transnational coalition of conservative religious and political leaders whose agendas go far beyond resisting the advance of marriage equality to rolling back LGBT rights and reproductive choice and criminalizing even the advocacy of LGBT equality.
The alliance between Russian strongman Vladimir Putin and the Orthodox Church is flourishing and is funding right-wing political movements throughout Europe even as the Russian government attacks LGBT groups, civil society, and basic freedoms within Russia. In Uganda, anti-gay lawmakers are certain to try to overcome President Yoweri Museveni’s resistance to passage of a new Anti-Homosexuality Act. In Gambia, viciously anti-gay President Yahya Jammeh has portrayed his vehement anti-gay stance as a heroic effort to defend Islam and African independence from European influence. In 2015, Gambia will celebrate 50 years of independence, which will give Jammeh plenty of opportunities for anti-gay posturing. In December, the U.S. dropped the country from special trade status under the African Growth and Opportunity Act.
Here are some of the overlapping and interconnected stories we’ll be watching in 2015.
Pope Francis and the World Meeting of Families
Catholics and non-Catholics alike will be watching intensely as the papacy of Francis continues to unfold and as conservatives in the hierarchy resist even rhetorical softening in the church’s position on sexuality issues. The bishops’ fall 2014 synod on the family was the scene of high-profile sparring over language referring to gay people, which conservative forces seem to have won.
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