This far-right hate group is 'lurking behind efforts' to 'roll back' LGBTQ and abortion rights: report

This far-right hate group is 'lurking behind efforts' to 'roll back' LGBTQ and abortion rights: report
Image via Creative Commons.

2023 marks the 30th anniversary of the far-right Christian fundamentalist legal group Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF). A long list of Religious Right organizations had gained considerable influence in the Republican Party by the time ADF was founded in 1993, from Focus on the Family to the late Rev. Pat Robertson's Christian Coalition to the Family Research Council. But ADF, formerly the Alliance Defense Fund, was focused specifically on pushing anti-gay and anti-anti-abortion laws.

In an article published by The Guardian on June 19, journalist Adam Gabbatt stresses that ADF is still well-funded and has "extended its tentacles into nearly every area of the culture wars."

"With the U.S. besieged by a right-wing culture war campaign that aims to strip away rights from LGBTQ+ people and others, blame tends to be focused on Republican politicians and conservative media figures," Gabbatt explains. "But lurking behind efforts to roll back abortion rights, to demonize trans people, and to peel back the protections afforded to gay and queer Americans is a shadowy, well-funded right-wing legal organization, experts say."

READ MORE: How Pat Robertson helped shape the radical Christian nationalism Barry Goldwater warned against

Gabbatt notes that ADF "aims to overturn same-sex marriage, enact a total ban on abortion, and strip away the already minimal rights that trans people are afforded in the U.S."

Rabia Muqaddam, a senior staff attorney for the Center for Reproductive Rights, warns that ADF's goal is to place "a certain type of religious view at the center of American life."

Muqaddam told The Guardian, "(The ADF campaign) extends to abortion, it extends to LGBTQ folks, to immigration, to what kind of religion we think is America, what kind of people we think are American. It's as dramatic as that. I think we are in a fight to preserve democracy and preserve America as a place where we do tolerate and encourage and empower everyone."

According to Muqaddam, ADF helped create the Mississippi anti-abortion law that was at issue in the case Dobbs v. Jackson Women's Health Organization. The U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade and ended abortion as a national right with its 5-4 decision in Dobbs in 2022.

READ MORE: How Trump exposed the moral bankruptcy of the Christian Right

"Alliance Defending Freedom has been instrumental in the dismantling of Roe and the ongoing efforts to eliminate abortion nationwide,” Muqaddam told The Guardian. "They enacted a law that they knew was unconstitutional, they enacted it for the purpose of generating case after case after case to push it out to the Supreme Court until they found a court that was sympathetic to their argument…. I think that's exactly what is happening in the LGBTQ context as well. Their goal is to limit individual rights as much as possible."

Emerson Hodges, a research analyst for the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) points out that ADF equates anti-gay laws with "religious freedom" and "religious liberty." The SPLC also lists ADF as a hate group.

Hodges told The Guardian, "Just about every anti-LGBT legislation that you've seen probably in the past decade was probably copied or paraphrased off of a model legislation built by Alliance Defending Freedom. They provide legal advocacy support, litigation and policy models for government officials."

READ MORE: 'Patriots might have to resort to violence': Survey shows 'most' GOPers sympathize with Christian nationalism

The Guardian's full report continues at this link.

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