SPLC Urges Public Figures to Boycott Values Voter Summit Because of Anti-LGBT Hate Speech by Summit Host and Co-Sponsor

WASHINGTON, Oct. 7, 2011 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ -- The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) today urged all public figures to boycott this weekend's Values Voter Summit, which is hosted and co-sponsored by two groups that demonize members of the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) community with false propaganda.

"The Family Research Council and the American Family Association are among the chief purveyors of lies about the LGBT community – lies that stoke hate and violence," said Mark Potok, director of the SPLC's Intelligence Project. "LGBT people are now, by far, the group most victimized by violent hate crimes in America. Public figures should not lend their names to groups that vilify them."

Here are examples of what these groups say about LGBT people:

  • Both groups say gay men molest children at far higher rates than heterosexual men – an assertion rejected by every relevant scientific organization, including the American Psychological Association.
  • Both groups have enthusiastically promoted "reparative therapy," the widely discredited idea that gay men and lesbians can be "cured" of their sexual orientation.
  • The AFA has declared that "homosexuality gave us Adolph Hitler ... the Nazi war machine and six million dead Jews."

More about the FRC and the AFA and their misinformation can be found here: www.splcenter.org/get-informed/news/just-whose-values-are-promoted-at-the-values-voter-summit.

"The lies peddled by these groups end up hurting real people," said Wayne Besen, founder of Truth Wins Out, an organization that defends the LGBT community against anti-gay smears. "Hate speech by the FRC and AFA encourages bullying in schools, which has led to tragic suicides. And their push to 'cure' gay people has exploited and seriously harmed many in the LGBT community. This fear-mongering has to stop."

Together, the FRC and the AFA comprise the most influential anti-gay lobby in the country, with combined budgets of more than $30 million. The FRC has hosted the Values Voter Summit, an annual conference for social conservatives in the nation's capital, since 2006. The AFA is a major sponsor.

Because of the groups' history of spreading demonizing lies about the LGBT community, the SPLC added the groups to its hate group list last year.

"Our criticism of these groups has nothing whatsoever to do with their opposition to same-sex marriage or their belief that the Bible describes homosexuality as a sin," Potok said. "Rather, it's based entirely on their continuing use of discredited research and outrageous falsehoods to defame the LGBT community."

The Southern Poverty Law Center, based in Alabama with offices in Florida, Georgia, Louisiana and Mississippi, is a nonprofit civil rights organization dedicated to fighting hate and bigotry, and to seeking justice for the most vulnerable members of society. For more information, see www.splcenter.org.

SOURCE Southern Poverty Law Center



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