A woman who is being given an honorary degree by the University of Utah has been criticized because of her association with an international organization that promotes families. The criticisms of Lynette Gay and of the World Congress of Families are unjust.

Mrs. Gay has long given great service not only in her own community, but also in international organizations around the world.

The Southern Poverty Law Center criticizes the award to Mrs. Gay because her association with the World Congress of Families which supports marriage as the union of a man and a woman. (She is not alone; nearly 90 percent of the nations in the world define marriage as the union of a man and a woman.)

Instead of explaining why they disagree with her position supporting man-woman marriage, the SPLC smeared a remarkable woman. That tactic chills open discussion of important issues and discourages public participation in such discussions.

The World Congress of Families brings together representatives of nations, of private organizations and individuals to discuss challenges facing families today. The meetings of the WCF provide an excellent forum to discuss developments relating to the family around the world and to learn about diverse approaches to solving common problems that face families.

In our democracy, there is room for the expression of diverse views about family policy issues. But in a just society, there is no room for the kind of personal attacks that the SPLC has made on Lynette Gay.

Lynn Wardle