A US law firm that battles to keep anti-gay sodomy laws has been officially designated as a hate group.
The anti-LGBT group Alliance Defending Freedom, which has close ties to senior Republicans, has been at the frontier of the evangelical fight against gay sex.
The notorious Christian group has opposed same-sex weddings, gay adoptions, civil unions, and even the repeal of Sodomy laws – strongly opposing the 2003 Supreme Court decision to strike down state laws banning gay sex.
Though other US-based groups have moved away from the overt ‘anti-Sodomy’ agenda, ADF continues to peddle its wares overseas, and was caught waging a campaign to keep gay sex illegal in Belize.
The ADF was this week designated as a anti-LGBT hate group by civil rights and extremism watchdog the Southern Poverty Law Center.
As part of its annual report on extremism, SPLC released an in-depth profile on the ADF, categorising it as an anti-LGBT hate group.
Their report notes the ADF have “regularly demonized LGBT people, falsely linking them to pedophilia, calling them ‘evil’ and a threat to children and society, and blaming them for the ‘persecution of devout Christians’. The group also has supported the criminalization of homosexuality in several countries.”
The SPLC notes that the ADF has openly praised the criminalisation of homosexuality in several countries, egging on activists in India in 2013 who convinced a court to reinstate an archaic sodomy law.
ADF reps praised India at the time for “choosing to protect society at large rather than give in to a vocal minority of homosexual advocates”.
It also points to a string of homophobic statements from the ADF, with officials claiming gay people “desensitize and corrupt young minds… for recruitment” because they cannot have chidren, also claiming homosexual behaviour is “intrinsically linked” to paedophilia.
Despite their extreme views the ADF has close ties to the evangelical wing of the Republican Party, with the Governor of Mississippi confirming they helped write most of the state’s anti-LGBT law.
The group has also filed spurious lawsuits in a number of states aiming to weaken LGBT anti-discrimination protections.
A case was filed by the ADF in Colorado, on behalf of a Christian “graphic designer” who wanted the right to discriminate against gay clients.
Lorie Smith, a self-identified “graphic designer”, filed a lawsuit in a bid to demolish LGBT rights protections in Colorado’s Anti-Discrimination Act, claiming she creates custom wedding websites.
Although the lawsuit claimed that Ms Smith specialises in ‘custom wedding websites’, her public design portfolio does not contain a simple example of such a work.
However, her portfolio did include a number of works created for the Colorado Republicans and other strong political opponents of anti-discrimination laws.