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What You Need to Know About the Anti-LGBTQ Alliance Defending Freedom

by HRC staff July 21, 2016

The so-called Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) -- the nation’s largest anti-LGBTQ legal group -- has thousands of lawyers working to pass hateful, discriminatory laws throughout the country. The Washington Post today reported on new emails which reveal ADF authored Mississippi’s notorious HB1523 law, which has given license to almost any individual or organization to discriminate against LGBTQ people. The law, which has been temporarily blocked while LGBTQ civil rights lawyer Robbie Kaplan fights it in court, is one of the worst and most aggressive anti-equality laws in the nation.

Here are five things you need to know about the dangerous Alliance Defending Freedom:

1) Pushes Aggressively Anti-Transgender Message
After the Department of Education’s Office of Civil Rights ruled that an Illinois high school broke non-discrimination laws after refusing to grant a transgender student access to the restrooms and locker rooms that correspond with their gender identity, the Alliance Defending Freedom filed a lawsuit against the DOE.

“ADF is arguing that the school district’s restroom policy and its locker room agreement with DOE violate the students’ constitutional privacy rights as well as the federal law known as Title IX,” the ADF explained. “ADF is also arguing that DOE’s action—redefining ‘sex’ to including ‘gender identity’ and telling schools that they must let males use the girls’ facilities, and vice versa—is illegal.”

2) Has Large Budget to Help Export Hate Worldwide
The Alliance Defending Freedom has an annual budget of more than $54 million, according to the Washington Blade. It is active in 31 countries around the globe aiding anti-LGBTQ forces in favor of criminalization laws, such as keeping laws in place that put people in jail for partaking in consensual same-sex sexual relations and defending existing anti-sodomy and anti-homosexuality laws.

3) Doesn’t Believe in Women’s Rights, Either
For years the Alliance Defending Freedom has attacked and tried to defund Planned Parenthood. The anti-choice group panders to the public with false claims such as Planned Parenthood sells “baby body parts” and that its primary purpose is to perform abortions.

4) Defends Bullying
As schools work to prevent harmful bullying - particularly against LGBTQ youth - the Alliance Defending Freedom has defended the bullies by targeting school districts for teaching tolerance. Preaching disgraced anti-LGBTQ myths, the ADF tried to block “efforts to indoctrinate our society into supporting homosexual behavior.”

5) Backs Religious Freedom Restoration Acts and Anti-LGBTQ Business Owners
Religious Freedom Restoration Acts have been used to justify discrimination and bigotry. The Alliance Defending Freedom states on its site that it “advocates for your right to freely live out your faith,” AKA it supports those who discriminate against the LGBTQ community under the guise of personal religious beliefs. While rejecting equal rights for LGBTQ people, the ADF also claims that the separation of church and state is a “false understanding of the First Amendment.”

HRC staff
HRC staff


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