House Speaker John Boehner

Gay-rights groups challenged House Speaker John Boehner, R-Ohio, after he secured meeting space in the U.S. Capitol to a group that strongly supports Russia’s laws against “homosexual propoganda.”

The Huffington Post reported Friday Boehner granted meeting space for the World Congress of Families after Sen. Mark Kirk, R-Ill., canceled the group’s reserved space in a Senate office building because of its anti-gay views.

“Speaker Boehner’s embrace of these ambassadors of hate is shameful and despicable. These individuals have supported the subhuman treatment of LGBT people around the world, and now they want to do the same here,” said Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin  in a statement. “The fact that the Speaker would welcome a panelist who praised Uganda’s proposal to sentence gay people to death should shock the conscience of all Americans.”

The Illinois-based WCF supported laws in Russia and Ukraine that ban the “promotion of homosexuality” — essentially a gag rule on any LGBT rights advocacy. WCF President Brian Brown testified before a committee of Russia’s parliament in support of a law banning gay couples and single people in countries that allow marriage equality to adopt Russian orphans.

Boehner spokesman Michael Steel said in a statement that providing space for the WCF event did not suggest the speaker is necessarily in support of their views.