The Family Research Council (FRC) continues to deny it's a hate group, claiming its goal is to debate gay rights.

The group is pushing against recent claims by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), a group that tracks more than 1,000 hate groups in America, that the FRC is a hate group.

The designation puts the Christian conservative group on the same list of hate groups as the Ku Klux Klan, the Nation of Islam and the Aryan Nations.

In an interview with The Christin Broadcasting Network, the FRC's Peter Sprigg defended his group's rhetoric as policy debates.

“I don't expect everyone to agree with some of the things that we assert about the homosexual lifestyle but we do present evidence in support of those assertions. And they are certainly not falsehoods or fabrications,” Sprigg said.

Sprigg went on to defend his claim that most men who engage in molesting boys “identify themselves as homosexual or bisexual.”

“There is significant evidence in support of the position that we've taken. And we don't think the debate should be shut off by these gratuitous charges of hate,” Sprigg said. (The video is embedded in the right panel of this page.)

Research on the subject, however, suggests that most abusers identify as straight or have no interest in consensual sexual relationships with adults.

In 1978, after screening nearly 200 men incarcerated in Massachusetts for molesting children, Dr. Nicholas Groth concluded that “the adult heterosexual male constitutes a greater risk to the underage child than does the adult homosexual male.”

In a July 1994 paper titled Are Children at Risk for Sexual Abuse by Homosexuals? published in Pediatrics, researchers looked at the abusers of 269 children and concluded that the children were “unlikely to have been molested by identifiable gay or lesbian people.”

The SPLC's Mark Potok told CBN that “the FRC does engage, certainly in our view, in the propagation of known falsehoods in an effort to defame gay people.”

In an appearance on Fox & Friends, Tony Perkins, the president of the FRC, denied he hates gay people.

No. Not at all,” Perkins said, then quickly added that, “homosexual behavior is harmful not only to society, but more importantly to the individuals who engage in that behavior.”

Sprigg has called for the re-criminalization of gay sex. When asked in February 2010 by MSBNC host Chris Matthews if “gay behavior” should be illegal, Sprigg answered “yes.”