Former President George W. Bush has praised the work of the World Congress of Families, a Rockford, Illinois-based conservative group opposed to LGBT rights.

The group had planned to honor Bush for his “pro-life work” at its conference in Tbilisi, Georgia.

According to The New York Times, the former president declined to attend but wrote a note at the group's request praising its work.

“I commend your efforts to recognize the importance of families in building nations,” Bush wrote. “Your work improves many lives and makes the world better.”

Bush wrote similar sentiments about the group in 2004, while he was in the White House and backed an amendment to the U.S. Constitution which would define marriage as a heterosexual union.

“Our knowledge of the group is limited to their work to encourage adoption,” a spokesman for Bush said in an email to the paper.

The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) has accused the group of exporting “homophobia and sexism” around the globe.

While the group has disputed the SPLC's designation as a hate group, it has a record of supporting laws that criminalize homosexuality.