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Gay nominee for U.S. ambassador criticized, praised in Dominican Republic

BY EZRA FIESER, SPECIAL TO THE MIAMI HERALD

SANTO DOMINGO, Dominican Republic -- President Barack Obama’s choice for ambassador to the Dominican Republic is part of an historic class of nominees that would more than double the number of openly gay top diplomats to have ever held the post. Fresh off gay rights victories in the Supreme Court, Obama chose gay men for the diplomatic post in four countries and one Europe-based intergovernmental organization.

But the choice of James “Wally” Brewster, a top campaign fundraiser and prominent gay rights activist in Chicago, has angered religious leaders in this deeply Catholic country, sparking fears that the U.S. is trying to export gay rights.

Top members of the evangelical and Catholic churches, including the powerful Catholic cardinal, criticized Obama for a choice they say is out of touch with the country’s cultural reality.

Monsignor Pablo Cedano, auxiliary Catholic bishop of Santo Domingo, said the appointment of Brewster showed “a lack of sensitivity, of respect by the United States.”

Brewster’s position on gay rights “is far from our cultural reality,” he said, adding that if he comes, “he’s going to suffer,” due to the cultural differences, “and he’ll have to leave.”

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