The Christian conservative Family Research Council (FRC) has defended Vice President Mike Pence's past opposition to LGBT rights.

FRC made the comments in response to a CNN story outlining Pence's history of opposing LGBT rights. CNN ran the story after a Pence aide argued that Pence could not be anti-gay because he had lunch with Leo Varadkar, the openly gay prime minister of Ireland, and his partner, Dr. Matthew Barrett, during a recent diplomatic visit to Ireland.

“For all of you who still think our @VP is anti-gay, I point you to his and the @SecondLady's schedule tomorrow where they will join Taoiseach @LeoVaradkar and his partner Dr. Matthew Barrett for lunch in Ireland,” White House deputy press secretary Judd Deere tweeted.

(Related: Chasten Buttigieg: Mike Pence's lunch with gay Irish PM doesn't mean he isn't anti-gay.)

CNN's story highlighted Pence's opposition in the early 90s to an effort by Lafayette, Indiana to ban discrimination based on sexual orientation.

“Pence argued in the 1990s that, unlike protections for African Americans, homosexuals choose or learn to be gay,” CNN wrote.

“It represents a very bad move in public policy,” Pence said at the time. “It opens up from a legal standpoint … a Pandora's Box of legal rights and legal difficulties once you identify homosexuals as a discrete and insular minority.”

In his response to CNN's story, FRC's Peter Sprigg said that Pence's opposition to LGBT rights aligned with his group's views.

“News broke yesterday that in 1993, Vice President Mike Pence – then with the Indiana Policy Review Foundation, a conservative think tank – opposed an effort to add 'sexual orientation' as a protected category in a Lafayette, Indiana human relations ordinance. The biggest surprise here may be that anyone found this discovery – in an old issue of the Lafayette Journal and Courier – to be the least bit newsworthy,” Sprigg wrote.

“Most of the arguments Pence offered in 1993 are the same arguments that we at Family Research Council and other social conservatives make today in opposing radical LGBT rights legislation like the proposed federal Equality Act. What would be news is if Mike Pence had ever taken any other position,” he said.

FRC has been labeled a “hate group” by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) over its anti-LGBT rhetoric.

(Related: Mike Pence calls ban on rainbow flags at U.S. embassies “right decision.”)