The Southern Poverty Law Center has hit back at claims that its designation of the Family Research Council as a “hate group” placed a target on the conservative organization. In a blog post, SPLC Senior Fellow Mark Potok called the claims “outrageous.”

Family Research Council President Tony Perkins held a press conference today, calling out the SPLC specifically and saying the organization’s “reckless rhetoric” gave accused shooter Floyd Corkins “a license to shoot an unarmed man.”

In its response, the SPLC accused Perkins of using the incident to score political points.

Perkins and his allies, seeing an opportunity to score points, are using the attack on their offices to pose a false equivalency between the SPLC’s criticisms of the FRC and the FRC’s criticisms of LGBT people. The FRC routinely pushes out demonizing claims that gay people are child molesters and worse — claims that are provably false. It should stop the demonization and affirm the dignity of all people.

Potok also reaffirmed his group’s designation of the Family Research Council as a hate group as “legitimate and fact-based criticism in a democratic society,” a view shared by supporters.

Jim Treacher and others were inspired to engage in their own “fact-based criticism in a democratic society.”

With both sides doubling down, not all FRC defenders are pleased with the rhetorical escalation.