The World Congress of Families has selected Salt Lake City as the site for its annual meeting next year. That concerns LGBT activist groups, who say the WCF is promoting an anti-gay agenda around the world.
The Sutherland Institute, a conservative think tank based in Salt Lake City, bid on hosting the 9th World Congress of Families after plans to hold it in Russia fell apart. It won that bid and the Congress is set for October of 2015, with a planning meeting set for Salt Lake in October of this year.
While the group says its agenda supports the “natural family,” LGBT activists have characterized it as a hate group that works against marriage equality. Jason Rahlan with the Human Rights Campaign says people in Salt Lake should know who’s coming to town.
“They’re planning on bringing three thousand extremists to Salt Lake City next year," Rahlan tells KUER. And among the ranks of this group are some very dangerous people saying some very terrible things.”
Rahlan says participants in the World Congress of Families have been involved in lobbying for anti-gay legislation in Russia and Uganda, among other countries.
Dave Buer with the Sutherland Institute says calling the World Conference of Families a hate group is unfair. But he wouldn’t be surprised to see protesters show up.
Buer told KUER in an interview,“There’s some groups that consider support for traditional marriage to equate to hate for anyone else, which is completely false, but they have their reasons for characterizing other groups like that, and they have every right to protest. So it wouldn’t be surprising to see that.”
The Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-Day Saints has sent formal delegations to previous meetings of the World Congress on Families, and Elder Russell M. Nelson of the Quorum of the Twelve Apostles spoke there in 2009.
A statement issued by the church says it wasn’t involved in the selection of Salt Lake City as the meeting site, but it appreciates the efforts of organizations working to strengthen the family.