The Southern Poverty Law Center this week labeled as “hate groups” several political and religious organizations that campaign against same-sex marriage and, the center says, engage in “repeated, groundless name-calling” against gays and lesbians.
Included on the list released by the civil rights organization is the Family Research Council, a politically influential group of social conservatives. The report by the law center, which has spent four decades tracking extremist groups and hate speech, accuses the council and other groups of putting out “demonizing propaganda aimed at homosexuals and other sexual minorities.”
The report taps into the potency of social issues like same-sex marriage in American politics. Several of the groups in the report supported a successful effort to oust state Supreme Court judges in Iowa because of a ruling that legalized same-sex unions.
The Family Research Council has been at the forefront of political activism against same-sex marriage.
In explaining the decision to put the council on its list, the law center highlighted comments by Peter Sprigg, a senior fellow for policy studies at the council, who told MSNBC’s Chris Matthews that he thinks “homosexual behavior” should be outlawed.
Council President Tony Perkins called the designation a political attack.