Last October, the anti-LGBT hate group World Congress of Families (WCF) held its ninth international congress in Salt Lake City, a gathering that attracts thousands of anti-LGBT and anti-abortion speakers and activists from around the globe, reports the Southern Poverty Law Center.
The gathering traditionally functions as a key site of right-wing strategy development to curtail or roll back LGBT equality gains and restrict or deny women access to abortion and related healthcare, attracting religious and political leaders. Six months later, WCF will hold its tenth congress in Tbilisi, Georgia, beginning Sunday, a date close to the anniversary of a violent 2013 mob attack on an anti-homophobia rally in the city, which occurred on May 17 which is often commemorated as the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia, and Biphobia. Thousands of anti-LGBT protestors led by Orthodox priests broke through a police cordon and pursued gay rights supporters, injuring at least twenty-eight people.
This year’s theme for the congress is “Civilization at the Crossroads: The Natural Family as The Bulwark of Freedom and Human Values.” The conference, the Web site claims, “will help the international pro-family movement to establish a beachhead in the region,” because one reason “sexual radicals” have targeted these countries, the site continues, “is to demonstrate their ability to overcome traditional cultures and compel people who cling to normative values to bend to their will.”
“The World Congress of Families focuses on bringing in the most notorious anti-LGBT activists from around the world, leaving terrible harm and discrimination in their wake,” said Ty Cobb, director of HRC Global. “Try as they might to hide behind so-called ‘pro-family’ rhetoric, the World Congress of Families is a hate group that convenes thousands of extremists from around the globe to strategize about how to make the world a more dangerous place for LGBT people.”
WCF works closely with extremists spreading anti-LGBT rhetoric and promoting laws and policies that criminalize not only LGBT people, but also those who speak out to support them. HRC’s report on the group, Exposed: The World Congress of Families, underscores the reality that WCF and many of its affiliates are laser-focused on promoting policies and rhetoric that put LGBT people and their families at incredible risk.
The conference speakers include Theresa Okafor, a notorious exporter of hate who has compared LGBT people to the terrorist group Boko Haram, and Brian Brown, president and co-founder of the National Organization for Marriage (NOM), a once-prominent anti-LGBT group. In 2011, Brown said, “When you knock over a core pillar of society like marriage, and then try to redefine Biblical views of marriage as bigotry, there will be consequences. Will one of the consequences be a serious push to normalize pedophilia?”
“WCF has honored a Nigerian activist who claims LGBT advocates conspire with terrorists with a “Woman of the Year” award, and lauded Vladimir Putin’s ‘morality,’”Cobb said. “The work of WCF supports positions and policies that harm LGBT people around the world. Their advocacy abroad incites hatred against LGBT people from Russia to Nigeria and beyond.”