Fresh off his announcement that he plans to seek re-election, former Australian Prime Minister Tony Abbott is on his way to the United States. An opponent of marriage equality, Abbott is planning on speaking to the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF).
ADF is one of the United States’ most dangerous organizations working to prevent equality for LGBT people across the globe. An enthusiastic leader in defending the unconscionable “right” to discriminate against LGBT people, ADF is a worldwide exporter of hate. With offices in many places around the world, ADF uses their global reach and budget of over 54 million dollars to promote discriminatory legislation, and foster anti-LGBT initiatives. ADF bills itself as an “alliance-building legal organization that advocates for the right of people to freely live out their faith”—unless of course that faith contradicts with their own anti-LGBT version.
“Alliance Defending Freedom has fought to suppress equality from the U.S. to Moscow,” said Ty Cobb, Director of HRC Global. “Australians must know that Mr. Abbott is in the U.S. to address the world's largest legal group from the radical right. Not only has ADF led on a number of anti-LGBT cases in the US – including defending California’s Proposition 8 – the ADF has intervened in similar cases in Russia, Italy, Belize, Ireland, Mexico and Argentina."
Though the event will remain private, the type of danger that groups like ADF pose does not. Last year, HRC exposed their hateful work in our groundbreaking report, “Exposed: The Export of Hate.” ADF’s Executive Director, Benjamin Bull, gained notoriety for his work spreading anti-LGBT hate around the world.
Though the vast majority of Australians support marriage equality, political in-fighting impeded progress in 2015. Last August, while still prime minister, Abbott refused to allow a vote in parliament on marriage equality despite polling indicating that 72 percent of Australians supported granting same-sex couples the right to marry. Abbott’s opposition to marriage equality helped lead to his downfall as Prime Minister, with Malcolm Turnbull, a marriage equality supporter, succeeding him in September. Despite this, shortly after assuming the premiership, Turnbull endorsed Abbott's plan of delaying marriage equality until a nationwide vote on the issue could be held in 2017. The world will be watching to see if growing public and political pressures will help make 2016 the year that Australia joins the world’s 19 other countries with marriage equality.