The Alliance Defending Freedom: Rolling back LGBT rights
Labeled by the Southern Poverty Law Center as an anti-LGBT hate group, the Alliance Defending Freedom is the main force that’s trying to roll back LGBT rights.
This group has been at the forefront of the legal battlegrounds in the courts and before the Supreme Court to prevent granting equality to the LGBT community.
As they say, know thy enemy. Here’s some information about them.
Alliance Defending Freedom & Masterpiece Cakeshop
The ADF was the legal advocacy group that batted for Jack Phillips, the owner of Masterpiece Cakeshop in Colorado, before the US Supreme Court over the owner’s refusal to make cakes for same-sex weddings.
While the court ruling favored Phillips, it didn’t rule that businesses can discriminate against LGBTQ people. However, other businesses saw it that way.
Moreover, the ADF, which advocates for religious freedom, claimed it as a victory, another one under their belt. They’ve already argued their claims of religious freedom eight other times and won every single time.
The ADF founder and then-president, Alan Sears, had earlier claimed that there was a link between being gay and pedophilia. Likewise, it pushed conspiracy theories related to the murder of Matthew Shepard.
It has provided support to 54 high court victories, has an alliance with over 300 organizations, trained 1,90 law students, and has more than 3,200 allied attorneys.
The group has raised over US$178 million in the past 5 years, and has an annual budget of over $45 million.
With its money and legal power, and for advocating the criminalization of LGBT people in the US and abroad, the ADF has been designated by the SPLC as an anti-LGBT hate group.
The history of the Alliance Defending Freedom
Founded on 31 January 1994, the group was established by more than 30 leaders of the Christian Right.
These include James Dobson of Focus on the Family, Bill Bright of the Campus Crusade for Christ, D. James Kennedy of Coral Ridge Ministries,and Don Wildmon of the American Family Association.
Aside from fighting for “religious liberty,” it has waged battles both in the US and abroad for abortion, and against LGBT equality.
It has managed to gain special advisory status at the United Nations, the European Union, and the Organization of American States.
With its funding, it has been taking on cases and training attorneys in its cause– even as it advocates for policy changes on state and federal levels.
Lastly, it has been pushing the idea of the supposed “homosexual agenda” that would supposedly destroy Christianity and civilization.
The government & the Alliance Defending Freedom
Currently, ADF also has close ties with the Trump administration and conservatives in government.
For example, when Attorney General Jeff Sessions announced last July 30 the creation of the Religious Liberty Task Force, former ADF staff reportedly worked with him to create this task force.
Likewise, they helped developed Arizona’s SB 1062, which would have legalized bigotry against LGBT people in restaurants and shops.
They also helped developed the same-sex marriage bans in Idaho, Colorado, and South Carolina.
On the other hand, they’ve sued schools on the treatment of transgender students and anti-bullying efforts. They went after New Jersey for banning conversion therapy.
Alex Morash, media director for The National LGBTQ Task Force, wrote in The Advocate that ADF’s strategy is: “Push lots of small cases, make ties with federal leaders, and claim they don’t support discrimination — it’s just a minor byproduct of religious freedom.”
“Where we fail is that instead of taking on ADF directly, the LGBTQ movement tackles each case, government edict, and ADF victory separately, never tying it all together to ADF’s overall strategy, sometimes not even mentioning ADF’s involvement at all,” Morash warned.