Former U.S. presidential candidate and Arkansas Governor Mike Huckabee signed an open letter to Australia that denounces activism by “sexual radicals” who are making things difficult for organizers of an anti-gay marriage conference intended to be held in a conference room in Australia’s parliament building on Wednesday, BuzzFeed Australia reports. The room was booked by an unnamed sitting member of parliament.
The letter was issued by the World Conference of Families, an Illinois-based group that opposes gay marriage, divorce, single parents, and abortion. The group was cited in an investigation by Mother Jones titled “How U.S. Evangelicals Helped Create Russia’s Anti-Gay Movement.” Last year, the group’s president praised Russia’s anti-gay legislation for “preventing [gays] from corrupting children.”
“Sexual radicals have launched a smear campaign to discredit the Melbourne conference, which misrepresents the international pro-family movement and the positions of the World Congress of Families,” the WCF letter reads. It was signed by 80 international supporters, including Huckabee and a bevy of representatives from anti-abortion and anti-gay marriage associations.
Huckabee, who now hosts a show on Fox News, has compared gay marriage to polygamy, and has used Martin Luther King Jr. quotes to compare fighting gay marriage legislation to fighting against Hitler in Nazi Germany.
Australian activists who oppose the conference appear to have secured the cancellation of venues for the event three times, causing the group to search for other venues. It is unclear if the venues are in addition to the room BuzzFeed reports is booked in the parliament building.
Several members of Australian government are scheduled to speak at the event, including Federal Minister for Social Services Kevin Andrews, as well as members of parliament Bernie Finn and Fred Nile.
Same-sex partners are not currently able to marry in Australia, but the Australian parliament is expected to vote on the issue in the upcoming session.