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Two years ago, assailants shot Dmitry Chizhevsky with an air rifle as he was leaving an LGBT community meeting in Russia, blinding him in the left eye.
"I was attacked for being gay," Chizhevsky said Saturday, "and my attackers have yet to face justice."
The "deep hatred" that prompted the shooting is reflected in Russia's law banning "gay propaganda," and President Vladimir Putin's crackdown on lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people a move, Chizhevsky alleged, that the World Congress of Families (WCF) supports.
He made his comments at a news conference at the Utah Capitol held by the Human Rights Campaign, which released a report on WCF activities promoting policies against the LGBT community.
The report, an updated version of a June 2014 document, was prompted by WCF's upcoming conference in Salt Lake City on Oct. 27-30.
Partly as a counterpoint, HRC, the nation's largest LGBT rights group, is partnering with area activists to hold the second annual Inclusive Families Conference on Oct. 23-24 at the University of Utah's College of Social Work.
WCF says its purpose is to affirm that the "natural family" a husband and wife rearing children is the fundamental social unit and essential to good society. But the Southern Poverty Law Center has dubbed WCF a hate group for allegedly fostering homophobia under the guise of protecting families.
HRC contends that WCF is involved in the "export of hate." Its report, "Exposed: The World Congress of Families," focuses on WCF's influence in Russia and other parts of Eastern Europe, as well as Australia and Africa.
The report says WCF has held large conferences in Poland and Ukraine to connect "pro-family" activists and encourage the passage of anti-LGBT legislation.
"The group supported legislation, which did not pass, that would have banned discussion of homosexuality in Polish public schools," the report says, "and lobbied against marriage-equality legislation in Albania and Romania."
WCF also has been working alongside legislators to block marriage equality in Australia and "cheered the passage of 'anti-homosexuality' legislation in Africa, where members of the LGBT community have been persecuted, arrested and murdered," according to the report.
Janice Shaw Crouse, WCF event director, on Saturday described the group as the world's premier pro-family organization and said that "we are not 'anti' anything."
WCF members are people of faith who celebrate the natural family, she said, and focus on things that make families stronger.
"The report is based on inaccuracies and speculation," Crouse said, "and it's very sad to read such a distortion."