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Human rights groups call on Forbes to boycott Values Voter Summit

Several human rights groups have called on Rep. J. Randy Forbes, R-4th, and other Republican legislators to cancel their speaking engagements at the Values Voter Summit in Washington this Friday, an event co-sponsored by the American Family Association and the Family Research Council, in Washington this Friday. Both organizations were categorized as hate groups by the Southern Poverty Law Center because of “vilifying the LGBT community and spreading other forms of bigotry.”

“Public officials need to know the real ‘values’ they’re endorsing when they attend the Values Voter Summit,” said Heidi Beirich, director of the Southern Poverty Law Center’s Intelligence Project. “Offensive and bigoted lies are not magically transformed into the truth just because a group with the word ‘family’ in its name keeps repeating them.”

The coalition letter was signed by the NAACP, the National Council of La Raza, Faithful America, GLAAD, the Human Rights Campaign, People For the American Way, and the Southern Poverty Law Center.

Dean Petrone, a spokesman for Forbes, said that the congressman has no intentions of changing his plans to attend the event. “It is hard to hold in high regard advice from a group that equates membership in the Ku Klux Klan or the neo-Nazi movement as akin to holding the religious belief that marriage is the union of one man and one woman,” Petrone said in an email. “At best, these groups are hypocritically intolerant of the religious views of millions of Americans; at worst, they are engaging in highly inflammatory rhetoric that diminishes civil public discourse and contributes to the continuing degradation of religious liberty in our nation.”