The Center for Family and Human Rights (C-FAM) and the Heritage Foundation, two organizations known to oppose LGBT rights and women’s rights as well as the general UN human rights system will be speaking at the 61st annual United Nations Commission on the Status of Women (CSW). 

On Monday, March 13 the U.S. State Department announced that representatives from both organizations will be part of the official delegation at this year’s CSW, which has many LGBT advocacy groups concerned. 

The Southern Poverty Law Center has labeled both C-FAM and the Heritage Foundation as hate groups — the Heritage Foundation has called for a cut in funding for anti-violence programs for women and has also claimed that LGBT anti-discrimination laws give LGBT people “special privileges,” according to a press release from OutRight Action International, an international LGBT human rights organization. 

The Heritage Foundation published an article in Feb. that decries legal protections for LGBT people because they will “penalize many Americans who believe that we are created male and female and that male and female are created for each other.” 

C-FAM takes the stance that homosexuality should be criminalized.

Austin Ruse, president of C-FAM said, “The penalties for homosexual behavior should not be jail time, but having some laws in the books, even if unenforced, would help society to teach what is good, and also would prevent such truly harmful practices as homosexual marriage and adoption.” He then continued, “The homosexual lifestyle is harmful to public health and morals.”

Jessica Stern, Executive Director of OutRight Action International released a statement regarding the U.S. delegation for this year’s CSW, urging speakers to refrain from discriminatory speech in their talks. 

“The appointment of these organizations to the official U.S. delegation undermines their positions,” Stern said in a press release. “I urge Secretary Tillerson and Ambassador Haley to ensure that the U.S. delegation mainstays non-discrimination at the CSW in the face of obvious pressure from these newly appointed members of the delegation.” 

Stern continued to say that two organizations that have repeatedly attempted to slow the progression of human rights in the United States are now a part of the official U.S. delegation. 

“Maybe the violent mentality that got C-FAM labeled a hate group successfully panders to their base, but the US government must ensure protection for the world’s most vulnerable people,” Stern said. 

“Human rights are based on indivisibility, which also means that the US cannot credibly support non-discrimination for LGBTI people while opposing family planning,” Stern continued. “Women’s rights, reproductive choice, LGBTI rights, climate justice, and the strength of the international human rights system all go hand-in-hand.”