Salt Lake City, Utah - Today, HRC, strongly condemned the decision by The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Utah Governor Gary Herbert, and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir for their support of and possible participation in the upcoming World Congress of Families (WCF) conference in Salt Lake City later this year.
In an event in Salt Lake City, conference Executive Director Janice Shaw Crouse announced that the LDS Church will have an official representative attend their three-day gathering this October, and that the Mormon Tabernacle Choir will perform for the conference attendees. Crouse was joined by Pamela Atkinson, an advisor to Utah Governor Gary Herbert, who attended and spoke positively about the group on his behalf.
“There’s a global network of anti-LGBT extremists who work tirelessly to put the lives of LGBT people around the world at risk, and the World Congress of Families is its nerve center” said HRC Global Director Ty Cobb. “By associating with WCF, Governor Herbert and the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints are sending a dangerous and deeply harmful message to LGBT people and their families, and are endorsing the exportation of anti-LGBT hatred abroad. We condemn their decision to be affiliated with WCF, and strongly urge them and all Utahns to reject this despicable gathering and its message of intolerance and discrimination.”
The World Congress of Families is one of the most dangerous groups in America, dedicated to promoting and coordinating the exportation of anti-LGBT bigotry, ideology, and legislation abroad. HRC’s scathing report on the group, Exposed: The World Congress of Families, makes clear that the organization is laser-focused on promoting policies and legislation that puts LGBT people and their families at incredible risk. Labeled a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, WCF’s first-ever international convention on American soil will take place in Salt Lake City on October 27-30.
Active across five continents, WCF has organized large international “pro-family” conventions that bring together a wide range of vehemently anti-LGBT activists. From holding conferences in Nigeria focused on denying rights to LGBT people to working to silence the Russian LGBT community, WCF’s tactics have put the lives of LGBT people around the world at risk.
Earlier this year, HRC strongly condemned WCF for hiring notorious anti-LGBT activist Crouse as the executive director for their Salt Lake City conference. Crouse’s deplorable record was highlighted in HRC’s report Exposed: The Export of Hate, in which she received a dishonorable mention. In the past, Crouse urged the Ugandan government to take a “biblical and cultural stand against the radical homosexual agenda” and traveled to Russia in support of the regime’s wildly anti-LGBT legislation.
On Tuesday’s event, Crouse claimed that WCF does not “mean disrespect for anybody,” but WCF’s track record of supporting anti-LGBT discrimination, marginalization, and violence begs to differ.
“From the mouth of someone who compares the fight for marriage equality to fascism, Janice Shaw Crouse’s claim to intend no ‘disrespect’ rings hollow,” said Cobb. “Marginalizing LGBT people and putting their livelihoods and their lives in peril isn’t ‘disrespectful’ - it’s immoral. We urge the people of Salt Lake City to fundamentally reject WCF and the hateful message for which it stands.”
In anticipation of WCF IX, HRC will be working with local organizations across Salt Lake City to share much-needed messages of love, hope and inclusion. HRC calls on the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, Governor Herbert, and the Mormon Tabernacle Choir to categorically reject WCF and disavow any involvement in its fall convention.
The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. HRC envisions a world where LGBT people are embraced as full members of society at home, at work and in every community.