Kentucky clerk Kim Davis has become a symbol of religious discrimination and freedom in the U.S. for her refusal to issue marriage licenses to same-sex couples.

Now, the Liberty Counsel, the law firm that represents Davis, has been accused by The Southern Poverty Law Center of being an anti-gay hate group for spreading false information.

The Associated Press reported

Kim Davis' lawyer stood onstage in a Washington D.C. hotel and pointed to a photo on the screen. It showed 100,000 people packed into a Peruvian soccer stadium, Mat Staver told the crowd, all there to pray for the Kentucky clerk battling against gay marriage. The crowd erupted. It wasn't true.


Online sleuths quickly debunked the Peru story Staver told at the Values Voter Summit, a conference for the conservative Family Research Council. The photo was from a year-old gathering unrelated to Davis, who spent five days in jail for defying a court order and refusing to license gay marriages. Staver could provide no evidence of a massive Davis rally. On Monday, he called it a mistake and blamed miscommunication with the Peruvian authorities who gave him the photo.

"A group that regularly portrays gay people as perverse, diseased pedophiles putting Western civilization at risk are way, way over the line," said Mark Potok, a senior fellow at The Southern Poverty Law Center.

Of his law firm being labeled a hate group, Staver said, "It is irresponsible and reckless to call someone a hate group because you disagree with them."

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