- The Washington Times - Wednesday, November 24, 2010

The Family Research Council’s opposition to gay rights has landed the outfit on the Southern Poverty Law Center’s list of “hate groups” — a label strongly denied by the influential Christian conservative organization.

The Montgomery, Ala.-based civil-rights group named FRC in the winter edition of its Intelligence Report as one of 13 organizations it considered a hate group based on their “propagation of known falsehoods — claims about [lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender] people that have been thoroughly discredited by scientific authorities — and repeated.”

The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) says that religious and other groups that portray gays as “unbiblical” but that do so in an unvengeful manner don’t qualify as hate groups, though they specified no such groups in the report.

Rather, FRC and the other groups on the list were singled out because they have “continued to pump out demonizing propaganda aimed at homosexuals and other sexual minorities.”

The liberal group added that the influence of FRC and others on its list reaches far beyond what their size would suggest because their positions often are amplified by politicians and news outlets.

FRC President Tony Perkins says SPLC’s accusations are a desperate attempt for attention by a dwindling national liberal base losing its relevance.

“It’s further evidence that the left is losing and that they’re out of ideas,” Mr. Perkins told The Washington Times on Wednesday. “They tried to do the same thing with the ‘tea party’ movement, they tried to characterize them as hate groups. They can’t win so they engage in character assassination.”

Mr. Perkins added that the timing of the report was “curious” due to current debate in Congress on a proposal to repeal the “don’t ask, don’t tell” policy that bans gays from serving openly in the military, which he called the “crown jewel of the homosexual radical movement.”

Others on SPLC’s anti-gay “hate group” list include: Abiding Truth Ministries of Springfield, Mass.; the Chalcedon Foundation of Vallecito, Calif.; Faithful Word Baptist Church of Tempe, Ariz.; and the Traditional Values Coalition of Anaheim, Calif.

SPLC was founded in 1971 as a law firm to handle anti-discrimination cases and won notice for fighting against the Ku Klux Klan and other white supremacist groups. But conservatives say the group has become nothing more than a liberal money-raising machine, and even some liberals have accused it of financial mismanagement and misleading fundraising practices.

Mr. Perkins’ group, according to SPLC, has repeatedly pushed false accusations linking gay men to pedophilia. It went on to specifically criticize FRC senior fellow Peter Sprigg for saying that allowing gays to serve openly in the military would lead to an increase in gay-on-straight sexual assaults.

SPLC added that Mr. Sprigg, when responding to a question in 2008 about uniting gay partners during the immigration process, said, “I would much prefer to export homosexuals from the United States than to import them.”

He apologized, but then in February told MSNBC host Chris Matthews, “I think there would be a place for criminal sanctions on homosexual behavior.

But Mr. Perkins noted that much of SPLC’s criticism was year’s old, saying it showed its case against FRC was hollow.

“If they’re looking for us to raise a white flag, they’re going to be waiting a long time,” he said.

• Sean Lengell can be reached at slengell@washingtontimes.com.

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