SALT LAKE CITY — The Human Rights Campaign announced Saturday it will hold its own conference to spread the message of love and acceptance to counter what it said is the hateful bias promoted by the World Congress of Families and its "world gathering" planned in Salt Lake City this fall.

The dueling conferences pit the Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization, against the world congress, an organization that describes itself as an international network of pro-family organizations, scholars and leaders that promote the "natural family" as the fundamental social unit.

Braving this summer's first heat wave of triple-digit temperatures, representatives from multiple groups spoke at a news conference at the Utah Capitol, passionately announcing that Utah is no place for such a discriminatory gathering this October.

"We have a voice, and we must use it," said Dmitry Chizhevesky, a Russian LGBT activist.

As such, the Inclusive Families Conference will be held in advance of the Oct. 27-30 conference planned by the World Congress of Families in Salt Lake City.

Mary Stanley, a co-founder of the Inclusive Families Coalition, denounced the "exclusionary" nature of the congress and its premise that a natural family is only that of a man and woman who unite in marriage for children.

Stanley, who described herself as a woman of faith and mother of three children, said there is no place for such hatred in Christianity.

"Their fear saddens me," she said. "I believe that God is good and God is love, and goodness and love have no conditions on them."

Stanley was joined at the conference by Troy Williams, executive director of Equality Utah, and Kent Frogley, executive committee chairman of the Utah Pride Center.

The news conference followed the Friday ruling by the U.S. Supreme Court that said same-sex marriage is a right guaranteed under the Constitution, and as such state laws prohibiting the union are illegal.

The 5-4 decision had been long sought by the gay rights movement and comes after years of litigation in multiple states across the country, including Utah.


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