The Family Research Council denounced the Southern Poverty Law Center for resorting to what it calls "juvenile name calling" against its pro-traditional marriage stance.
FRC President Tony Perkins defended the policy organization's stance against homosexual behavior on cable television network MSNBC Monday after the SPLC labeled it as a hate group.
"We think to be silent when it comes to homosexual behavior that's both harmful to society and, more importantly, to the individuals who engage in it, to be silent, that is in fact hateful," he said.
The SPLC recently announced that it will be adding FRC to its list of anti-gay, hate groups.
"Even as some well-known anti-gay groups like Focus on the Family moderate their views, a hard core of smaller groups, most of them religiously motivated, have continued to pump out demonizing propaganda aimed at homosexuals and other sexual minorities," the nonprofit civil rights organization stated.
Mark Potok of SPLC clarified on MSNBC, "When we name groups hate groups that has nothing to do with any allegation of criminality ... It's purely about ideology."
Perkins, meanwhile, believes this is all simply "juvenile name calling,"
"The left is losing ground in this public policy debate and so they start this juvenile process of name calling and trying to shut down debate over public policy," he contended.
The SPLC, based in Montgomery, Ala., has charged the FRC and 12 other groups of spreading 10 "falsehoods" in the debate over gay marriage and gay adoption. The falsehoods, the group claims, include: same-sex parenting is harmful to children; homosexuals molest children at far higher rates than heterosexuals; allowing homosexuals to serve openly in the military would damage the armed forces; and hate crime laws will lead to the jailing of pastors who openly criticize homosexuality.
J. P. Duffy, FRC vice president of communications, says the group has simply been representing the view of the American public. Over 30 states voted for marriage referendums that define marriage as being between one man and one woman. Duffy noted, "Their [gay rights] agenda has been rejected at the ballot box."
Penny Young Nance, CEO of Concerned Women for America, made the argument that in condemning family groups, the SPLC is misrepresenting the beliefs of the African-American community it was meant to serve.
In a Monday blog post refuting the list, Nance wrote, "By demonizing traditional family groups that support traditional marriage, they just put a huge portion of the African-American community in California in the same category with the rest us so-called bigots."
According to an Associated Press exit poll, 70 percent of African-Americans in California voted for Proposition 8 in support of traditional marriage in 2008.
In an earlier statement, Perkins assured the public that the FRC discusses issues of faith and family with the utmost civility and compassion. Perkins also labeled the SPLC as a liberal organization that has lost sight of its public justice roots. He lampooned the list as the sour grapes actions of the "losing" left.
"This is a deliberately timed smear campaign by the SPLC. The Left is losing the debate over ideas and the direction of public policy so all that is left for them is character assassination. It's a sad day in America when we cannot, with integrity, have a legitimate discussion over policy issues that are being considered by Congress, legislatures, and the courts without resorting to juvenile tactics of name calling," he shared in last week's statement.
The FRC has demanded a public apology.
Correction: Thursday, December 2, 2010:
An article on Tuesday, November 30, 2010, about the Southern Poverty Law Center's upcoming list of anti-gay, hate groups incorrectly reported that Concerned Women for America was added to the list. The Christian Post confirmed with Mark Potok, director of the Southern Poverty Law Center's Intelligence Project, that Concerned Women for America is not on the list.