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The World Congress of Families a group that some say supports violence against gay and transgender people on Tuesday called for civil dialogue between those with disparate views on family well-being, saying its work and mission have been mischaracterized.
The statement comes as part of a 28-page WCF report that seeks to discredit claims by Southern Poverty Law Center and the Human Rights Campaign that the organization is a hate group.
"Our hope is that this report will end the attacks and misinformation and allow us to move forward by engaging in thoughtful, constructive and civil discussion on issues vital to the lives of children and families everywhere," said Janice Shaw Crouse, a WCF board member and the director of its planned October conference in Salt Lake City.
The event, WCF's ninth, will be its first in the U.S. and is expected to draw about 3,000.
By its own account, WCF's aim is to bring together "scholars, government and religious leaders, health care professionals and advocates" to share research and discuss issues that affect the family, including health, pornography, addiction and family stability.
WCF also supports the "natural family," saying a man and a woman raising children is the best model for society.
Since the announcement of the Salt Lake City event, WCF officials say they've been hit with a barrage of attacks claiming the organization promotes violence against the lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender community.
Specifically, the Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest gay and transgender rights organization, has issued two reports in the past year detailing WCF messaging and political activism that it says have harmed LGBT individuals around the world.
Among the HRC's many claims: That WCF promoted anti-LGBT legislation across Africa and Russia, including a law that imposed lifetime prison sentences for Ugandans caught engaging in homosexual sex, and a 2013 Russian ban on "LGBT propaganda."
In its report, WCF dismisses 25 specific claims in the HRC's reports and offers detailed explanations of its participation, or lack thereof, in public discourse or activism.
WCF denies playing any role in promoting the Uganda initiative, for example, and says any claims that suggest otherwise are a "false narrative."
"The WCF has never met in Uganda. It hast not worked in Uganda. And it maintains no relationship with the government of Uganda," the report states.
WCF also denies having lobbied to pass legislation in Russia and says its only connection to the 2013 propaganda law was putting its name on a worldwide civil society statement in defense of a child protection law. The legislation, WCF contends, is similar to many U.S. child protection laws, which seek to shield kids from destructive activities, including drugs, alcohol, pornography and solicitation for "nontraditional sexual relations, which are dangerous, as shown by statistics from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention."
The report also contends the HRC has also wrongly tried to associate the WCF with "the statements of individuals and organizations that did not speak for nor were sanctioned by the WCF."
In a statement, Ty Cobb, director of HRC Global, said WCF's explanations do little to mask its record of anti-LGBT rhetoric or those of organizations it partners with around the world.
Cobb called for WCF to look toward reforming its future actions and mission, rather than concealing its past, and said the HRC will continue to shed light on WCF's work.
Last month, the HRC announced its sponsorship of the Inclusive Families Conference, scheduled for Oct. 23-24 at the University of Utah, which is designed to counter the WCF conference.