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Metropolitan Police Department cars sit outside the Family Research Council Metropolitan Police Department cars sit outside the Family Research Council's Washington, D.C. Wednesday, Aug. 15, 2012. (TheDC Video)  

Southern Poverty Law Center repeats ‘hate group’ claim about Family Research Council

Ahead of this weekend’s Values Voter Summit, a liberal organization is once again labeling the conservative Family Research Council (FRC) a “hate group.”

Earlier this week, the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) announced that it had sent letters to fifteen high-profile conservative politicians slated to speak at FRC’s Values Voter Summit.

The letters — co-signed by other self-styled human rights groups — call for their recipients, conservative luminaries ranging from Paul Ryan to Michele Bachmann, to decline speaking at the conservative convention.

The SPLC and its allies criticize the summit’s sponsorship by the FRC. The SPLC cites controversial comments, primarily against homosexuality, made by the FRC and other sponsors of the Values Voter Summit.

As a result, the SPLC calls on politicians invited to speak at the Values Voter Summit to “decline the FRC’s invitation and not share the stage with and lend your credibility to an organization that spreads demonizing falsehoods about other people.”

These letters followed Monday’s statement by Richard Cohen, president of the SPLC, reaffirming the group’s long-standing contention that the Family Research Council qualifies as a hate group.

The SPLC’s position generated controversy last month when a gunman opened fire at the Family Research Council’s Washington, D.C., headquarters on Aug. 15.  FRC President Tony Perkins condemned the SPLC’s “hate group” designation in the wake of the shooting, indicating he believed the SPLC’s labeling helped enable the shooting.

The SPLC’s comments constitute the organization’s first press releases critical of the FRC since it originally defended itself on Aug. 21 from Perkins’ charges.

The Values Voter Summit will be held Sept. 14 to 16 in Washington, DC.

Perkins is scheduled to deliver Friday’s opening welcome and will help lead the Sunday morning worship service.

Also holding a notable position at the summit will be retired Lt. Gen. William Boykin, former commander of Delta Force and current executive vice president at the FRC. Boykin was one of the SPLC’s prime targets in its Tuesday letter due to previous comments critical of Islam and the 2010 Affordable Care Act.

Boykin will sit on two panels at the summit. The panels will discuss Middle Eastern security and religious liberty. He will also speak at a student mixer Friday night.

The summit will feature numerous panels and sessions featuring figures ranging from high-profile Republican senators and congressmen to media and entertainment personalities including Glenn Beck and Kirk Cameron.

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