The Conservative Christian organization Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) is the darling of Fox News and several other right-wing media outlets. These outlets typically say that the ADF is merely a “Christian legal organization,” and don’t bother to mention this organization’s record for defending laws that would imprison people for being gay.

Staffed with more than 40 attorneys, the ADF has been associated with almost all recent attacks on LGBT rights and women’s reproductive health issues, having attacked Planned Parenthood and served as a key player in the Hobby Lobby ridiculousness before the Supreme Court. And North Carolina’s recent bathroom law and Indiana’s “religious freedom” law? You can thank the ADF for those too. The ADF promotes extremist legislation to state lawmakers nationwide, testifies in favor of the legislation, and then defends it on local and national media, which incidentally, rarely mentions the organizations anti-homosexual agenda or its history of smearing the LGBT community.
Not only has the ADF worked to make gay sex illegal in the U.S., it’s also defended laws in Belize, Jamaica, and India that would imprison people for having gay sex. Even worse, this organization also opposes anti-bullying laws because it believes such laws will indoctrinate “impressionable” children into becoming homosexuals. And Alan Sears, ADF’s current president and CEO, also co-wrote a book that claims homosexuality is “intrinsically linked” to pedophilia. One seemingly nutty ADF attorney, speaking at a recent conference, claimed the cruel murder of Matthew Shepard was falsely depicted as an anti-gay hate crime so that the “homosexual legal agenda” could be advanced.

So how powerful is the ADF?

The conservative christian organization was originally established as the Alliance Defense Fund in 1994, and counts among its founders religious right-wing leaders like Focus on the Family’s James C. Dobson and Bill Bright, of Campus Crusade for Christ. The ADF’s website reports that it changed its name to Alliance Defending Freedom in 2012 in order to highlight its “enduring mission to gain justice for those whose faith has been unconstitutionally denied in the areas of religious liberty, the sanctity of life, and marriage and family.”

Headed by Sears, who also serves as General Counsel, and boasting an annual budget that exceeds $30 million, ADF claims it is “a servant ministry building an alliance to keep the door open for the spread of the Gospel by transforming the legal system.” Which really means that they want “religious freedom” for Christians and oppression for everyone else who doesn’t fit their narrow-minded purview.

What Has The ADF Done?

Here’s a small sampling:

  • The ADF has formed partnerships with more than 300 right-wing institutions including the Federalist Society and the Pacific Justice Institute, which is known for its virulently anti-LGBT stance.
  • The organization also filed a brief that promoted statutory bans on gay sex in Lawrence v. Texas, a 2003 case that resulted in the Supreme Court finding state anti-sodomy laws unconstitutional.
  • The ADF opposed anti-bullying measures in public schools, and called for exceptions regarding speech or actions based on religious views. It also decried “tolerance training” and “special protection” for LGBT students.
  • Instigated its own “Day of Truth” to protest the Day of Silence, which commemorates LGBT victims bullying, violence, or harassment.
  • It also dispatched chief counsel Benjamin Bull to meet Yelena Mizulina in Russia. Mizulina is the legislative leader of Russia’s crackdown on LGBT people.

When media outlets like Fox News pander to Christian conservatives by giving extremist organizations like ADF air time to defend their anti-LGBT and anti-abortion rights rhetoric without mentioning what these organizations really stand for, they are lying by omission and essentially sowing the seeds of hate.

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