The Family Research Council, a prominent voice in social politics, is demanding an apology from the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) after the liberal nonprofit group declared the Christian conservative organization as a “hate group” because of their anti-gay rhetoric.

FRC president Tony Perkins is fighting back, accusing the SPLC of engaging in a “deliberately timed smear campaign.” Fox News reports:

This week the SPLC listed 18 “hate groups” — the FRC among the most prominent of them — which the law center says “have continued to pump out demonizing propaganda aimed at homosexuals and other sexual minorities.”

Perkins responded with a published statement Wednesday, blasting the SPLC for being a “massively funded liberal organization that operates under a veneer of public justice when, in fact, they seem more interested in fundraising ploys than fighting wrongdoing.”

He called “on the Southern Poverty Law Center to apologize for this slanderous attack and attempted character assassination.”

Eighteen different groups were singled out by the SPLC as “hate groups.”  While the SPLC’s magazine, “Intelligence Report,” claimed that “viewing homosexuality as unbiblical does not qualify organizations for listing as hate group,” editor Mark Potok criticized FRC’s Perkins as a “key critic of anti-bullying programs.”

“The leaders of this movement may deny it, but it seems clear that their demonization of homosexuals plays a role in fomenting the violence, hatred and bullying we’re seeing,” Potok said.

The SPLC’s description of FRC focuses mostly on research fellows Tim Dailey and Peter Sprigg, who are charged with circulating “false accusations linking gay men to pedophilia.”

In 2008, the mag notes, Sprigg was asked about uniting gay partners during the immigration process and responded, “I would much prefer to export homosexuals from the United States than to import them.”  Though Sprigg later apologized for the remark, the SPLC continued to criticize subsequent statements that suggested gay behavior should be allowed and that the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell would result in more accounts of sexual assault in the military.

With this designation, the SPLC equates the FRC with such notorious groups as the Ku Klux Klan, New Black Panther Party, the Nation of Islam and Aryan Nation.

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