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World Congress of Families to Hold First U.S. Convention in Salt Lake City

Salt Lake City is hosting the first stateside gathering of World Congress of Families. The organization says it advocates for the traditional family structure. Others say it promotes exclusion.

Thousands of people from around the globe are expected to attend the 9th World Congress of Families convention October 27th -30th in Salt Lake City. Previous conferences of the WCF have taken place all over the world-from Prague to Madrid to Sydney and this year for the first time in the U.S. 

The Southern Poverty Law Center has labeled the WCF an anti-gay hate group. And the Human Rights Campaign recently accused this year’s executive director Janice Shaw Crouse of making life more dangerous for LGBT people around the world by promoting anti-gay policies. During the press conference Tuesday, Crouse disagreed with those characterizations.

“We are a pro-family organization unapologetically,” Crouse said. “We are people who believe that marriage was established by God. But we are not disrespectful to anyone.

Mark Lawrence is director of LGBT rights group Restore Our Humanity. In response to the WFC announcement Tuesday he and other activists voiced a counter message. 

“All families matter in Utah,” Lawrence said. “And we feel like it is wrong to discriminate against families for not meeting this tiny narrow paradigm. Today’s families we are expanding. The definition is expanding and every family is important.”

The conference will include discussions related to sex trafficking, media and faith, abortion and adoption, pornography and the economic cost of what the organization believes is the breakdown of the family. 

Whittney Evans grew up southern Ohio and has worked in public radio since 2005. She has a communications degree from Morehead State University in Morehead, Kentucky, where she learned the ropes of reporting, producing and hosting. Whittney moved to Utah in 2009 where she became a reporter, producer and morning host at KCPW. Her reporting ranges from the hyper-local issues affecting Salt Lake City residents, to state-wide issues of national interest. Outside of work, she enjoys playing the guitar and getting to know the breathtaking landscape of the Mountain West.
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