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About 50 protesters braved the rain Thursday night to demonstrate against the ninth World Congress of Families and its definition of family.

The demonstrators — who marched outside the Grand America Hotel, where the organization is meeting this week — carried signs that read "WFC Spreads Hate Not Truth," "Love Makes a Family" and "Don't Diss Adoptive Parents."

The World Congress of Families promotes "the natural family" of a married mother and father and their children, and it says it works to strengthen all families.

But critics say the organization hurts families and supports laws in other countries that criminalize homosexuality. Restore Our Humanity, which organized Thursday's demonstration, says it strongly opposes the WCF message of exclusion and divisiveness.

And the Southern Poverty Law Center has declared the World Congress of Families to be a "hate group" for fostering homophobia under the guise of protecting families.

WCF officials reject the hate-group allegation and say they are "not 'anti' anything."

Demonstrator Mary Vaughan said she is disappointed that some of Utah's leaders, including Gov. Gary Herbert, spoke at the conference.

Mark Lawrence, director of Restore Our Humanity, which works to further human rights in Utah, also objected to the governor's appearance and said he is going to work against Herbert's re-election.

Salt Lake County District Attorney Sim Gill, who spoke at the demonstration, questioned how anyone could support the World Congress of Families. He said the group incites the fear of persecution.

"This is not about family," Gill said. "This is about tearing families apart."

Twitter: @PamelaMansonSLC