The misleadingly named World Congress of Families (WCF), which the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) designates as a hate group, is hosting the WCF XI in Budapest, Hungary, this week. Some 3,000 people are expected to attend the annual gathering. In a nod to Donald Trump’s divisive presidential campaign, the theme is “Building Family-Friendly Nations: Making Families Strong Again.”
The WCF XI Budapest host committee is headed by a senior official of the right-wing Hungarian government. The conference will feature a line-up of virulently anti-LGBTQ and anti-choice speakers.
The SPLC reported that a member of Donald Trump’s cabinet, U.S. Secretary of Housing and Urban Development Ben Carson, was listed as a speaker on the program. But his name was removed without explanation over the weekend. Carson’s name was replaced with Janice Shaw Crouse, a notorious American exporter of hate who has an insidious track record of making anti-LGBTQ statements. Other dangerous exporters of hate such as Brian Brown will also be speaking at WCF XI. It is unclear whether Carson will indeed still participate.
WCF is known for its deep and longstanding ties to Russia and the Putin regime. In 2013, WCF forcefully advocated for the draconian anti-LGBTQ Russian “anti-propaganda law,” which sanctions individuals and organizations that advocate on behalf of LGBTQ people. The Russian region of Chechnya is currently witnessing a massive and deadly anti-LGBTQ crackdown.
WCF’s annual gatherings attract thousands of anti-LGBTQ activists. Their most recent annual conference was held in Tbilisi, Georgia, in May last year, as LGBTQ Georgians celebrated the International Day Against Homophobia, Transphobia and Biphobia (IDAHOT). The timing of WCF X in the country of Georgia was particularly disturbing given that the 2013 IDAHOT in Tbilisi had been marred by anti-LGBTQ violence.
In October 2015, when WCF held their ninth annual gathering in Salt Lake City (the first time they had done so in the U.S.), Ben Carson’s PAC (he was then a contender for the Republican nomination for president) partnered with WCF for the event. Speakers at WCF IX called LGBTQ people pedophiles and labeled LGBTQ rights a threat to humanity and akin to terrorism.
The WCF works closely with a dangerous group of hatemongers, spreading anti-LGBTQ rhetoric and promoting laws and policies that criminalize LGBTQ people and the advocacy of those who support them. HRC’s report on the group, Exposed: The World Congress of Families, made clear that the organization and its affiliates put LGBTQ people and their families in danger across five continents.
Read more about the work HRC has done to expose WCF’s hateful and dangerous agenda here.