The Southern Poverty Law Center has asked Governor Jan Brewer and others to skip out on an event hosted by the Family Research Council because of the group's persistent "demonization" of lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people.
Brewer's office says that's not happening.
The Southern Poverty Law Center teamed up with several other civil-rights organizations to send letters and hold press conferences aimed at some of the big-name speakers at this weekend's Values Voter Summit, including Brewer, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor, Vice Presidential candidate Paul Ryan, and others.
It's not just the Family Research Council's apparent obsession with homosexuality that has the groups riled up; it's the borderline -- or total -- crazy-talk about gay people that has them concerned.
"The FRC is far outside of the mainstream. It has engaged in repeated, groundless demonization -- portraying LGBT people as sick, vile, incestuous, violent, perverted, and a danger to the nation," the letter says. "One of its officials has gone so far as to say homosexuality should be criminalized."
For a clear example, the Southern Poverty Law Center's letter cites Bryan Fischer, the "director of issue analysis" for one of the event's co-sponsors, who claimed Hitler only murdered millions of Jews because he was gay.
Specifically, he said, "Homosexuality gave us Adolph Hitler, and homosexuals in the military gave us the Brown Shirts, the Nazi war machine and 6 million dead Jews."
That sounds like one of those things that might be taken out of context -- or at least you'd hope -- but he actually wrote a lengthy piece explaining that's exactly what he meant.
There's also what the Southern Poverty Law Center calls the "ugliest lie" about gay people from the Family Research Council -- that they're way more likely to molest children than straight men. (You can click here to see the Family Research Council's opinion on that ripped to shreds.)
Of course, there's an ongoing battle between those two organizations, after the Southern Poverty Law Center labeled the Family Research Council a "hate group," and the Family Research Council president proceeded to blame the shooting at its headquarters on the Southern Poverty Law Center's use of that phrase.
All that aside, the governor (surprise) wasn't swayed by the letter.
Here's the statement sent over by Brewer's spokesman, Matthew Benson:
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Governor Brewer is honored to be an invited speaker for the 2012 Values Voter Summit. This is arguably the nation's premier event for social conservatives, and Governor Brewer will be among other prominent and well-respected speakers such as vice presidential-nominee Paul Ryan, House Majority Leader Eric Cantor and Virginia Governor Bob McDonnell. Of course, the speakers, attendees and sponsors of the Values Voter Summit will not agree on everything. Governor Brewer will use her remarks to focus upon the larger, shared conservative cause of limited government and traditional values.
Also not surprising is that
unelected Governor Center for Arizona Policy President and lobbyist Cathi Herrod will also be one of the speakers at this weekend's event.