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Human rights groups urge public officials not to attend ‘Values Voter Summit’

Human rights groups urge public officials not to attend ‘Values Voter Summit’

MONTGOMERY, Ala. — A coalition of human rights groups is calling on public officials not to attend this week’s Values Voter Summit in Washington, D.C., because its host, the Family Research Council, has spread demonizing lies about the LGBT community, and because one of its co-sponsors, the American Family Association, has linked homosexuality to the Holocaust.

The coalition includes the Gay and Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation (GLAAD), the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), People for the American Way Foundation (PFAWF), the Human Rights Campaign Foundation (HRCF), the National Black Justice Coalition (NBJC), the National Council of La Raza (NCLR), and Faithful America, in signing the letter which was mailed this week to all participating speakers.

“Given the FRC’s and AFA’s public statements, we urge you not to lend the prestige of your office to the summit,” the coalition wrote in letters to House Majority Leader Eric Cantor (R-Va.), U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan (R-Wisc.), Sens. Jim DeMint (R-S.C.) and Rand Paul (R-Ky.), and other public officials who have been invited to speak at the summit.

“The FRC is far outside the mainstream,” the letter states. “It has engaged in repeated, groundless demonization – portraying LGBT people as sick, vile, incestuous, violent, perverted, and a danger to the nation. One of its officials has gone so far as to say that homosexuality should be criminalized.”

“The FRC’s extremism is vividly illustrated,” the letter adds, “by the fact that it has invited the American Family Association (AFA) to co-sponsor the Summit at which you have been invited to speak. Here is what Bryan Fischer, the AFA’s Director of Issue Analysis, wrote in 2010: ‘Homosexuality gave us Adolph Hitler, and homosexuals in the military gave us the Brown Shirts, the Nazi war machine and 6 million dead Jews.’”

The coalition letter also points out that the FRC has repeatedly claimed that gay men molest children at far higher rates than heterosexual men do, despite the fact that all credible scientific authorities reject the claim.

GLAAD President Herndon Graddick stated that “when reporting on this summit for so-called ‘Values Voters,’ media have an obligation to put the event into context — and that includes the violently anti-LGBT rhetoric of its organizers, including FRC’s Tony Perkins and AFA’s Bryan Fischer.”

“By speaking at the conference and aligning with these organizers, elected officials are sending a dangerous message to the American people that they support their outdated and false views. It appears that the only credentials Perkins and Fischer have to speak about LGBT issues is that they hate LGBT people, but hate is not an American value,” said Graddick.

“Our message is a simple one,” said Richard Cohen, president of the Southern Poverty Law Center. “Public officials should not lend the prestige of their office to groups that spread demeaning and false propaganda about other people.”

The three-day “Values Voter Summit” begins Friday.

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