Tony Perkins, the president of the Christina conservative group Family Research Council (FRC), has denied he hates gay people.

In an appearance on Fox & Friends, Perkins defended his group against claims by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) calling the FRC a hate group.

The SPLC recently added the FRC, a group that opposes gay rights, to the same list of hate groups as the Ku Klux Klan, the Nation of Islam and the Aryan Nations. Also added were the National Organization for Marriage (NOM), the nation's most vociferous opponent of gay marriage, and the Christian conservative group American Family Association (AFA), which claims that “homosexuals controlled the Nazi Party and helped orchestrate the Holocaust.”

Perkins told host Steve Doocy: “What this boils down to Steve it that the left is losing the debate over public policy and the direction of this nation, as is evidenced in the election last month. So what they want to do is shut down all debate over issues.”

When asked, “Do you hate gay people?” Perkins quickly answered, “No. Not at all,” but added that “homosexual behavior is harmful not only to society, but more importantly to the individuals who engage in that behavior.” (The video is embedded in the right panel of this page.)

In an earlier broadcast on MSNBC's Hardball, Perkins denied that his group has previously called for the criminalization of “homosexual behavior.”

“We have not been, we are not, and we are not going to be working to re-criminalize homosexual behavior. That's not the issue today,” Perkins said.