Steph's Place

The Alliance Defending Freedom aka the ADF in the UK - more surprises -updated

By Steph

In mid-2021, I authored a piece centring on the Alliance Defending Freedom  (ADF).

Named by the American Human Rights organisation the SPLC as a "Hate Group" - the ADF says they are "Christians".

SPLC say this about the ADF in the United States. Does this apply in the UK? We dont know.

Founded by some 30 leaders of the Christian Right, the Alliance Defending Freedom is a legal advocacy and training group that has:

  • Supported the recriminalization of sexual acts between consenting LGBTQ adults in the U.S. and criminalization abroad
  • Defended state-sanctioned sterilization of trans people abroad
  • Contended that LGBTQ people are more likely to engage in pedophilia
  • Claimed that a “homosexual agenda” will destroy Christianity and society

ADF also works to develop “religious liberty” legislation and case law that will allow the denial of goods and services to LGBTQ people on the basis of religion. Despite its regular defamation of LGBTQ people, the group has managed to win special advisory status at the United Nations, in the European Union, and with the Organization of American States. Since the election of President Trump, ADF has become one of the most influential groups informing the administration’s attack on LGBTQ rights.

Wikipedia states this about the ADF. 

Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF, formerly Alliance Defense Fund) is an American conservative Christian legal advocacy group focused on blocking rights and protections for LGBTQ people; expanding Christian practices within public schools and in government; and preventing access to abortion and contraception. ADF is headquartered in Scottsdale, Arizona, with branch offices in Washington, D.C. and New York, among other locations. The global arm, Alliance Defending Freedom International, is headquartered in Vienna, Austria.

ADF is one of the most organized and influential Christian legal interest groups in the country based on its budget, caseload, large network of allied attorneys, and connections to political figures such as Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett[ and high-ranking Republicans including former Vice President Mike Pence former attorneys general William Barr and Jeff Sessions, and US Senator from Missouri Josh Hawley. ADF attorneys have argued a number of cases before the Supreme Court, including cases about religion in public schools, the Affordable Care Act, business owners' right to exclude LGBTQ customers, same-sex marriage, and prayers before town meetings

The Southern Poverty Law Center designates ADF as an anti-LGBT hate group based on its active opposition to legal rights and protections of LGBTQ people in the United States and around the world.

ADF has lobbied, brought lawsuits, and provided legal support to groups to prevent decriminalization of homosexuality in the United States and worldwide; oppose same-sex marriage; prevent laws from being passed to prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity; force transgender people to be sterilized in order to change their identification documents; and restrict transgender people's rights to use bathrooms and play sports. The SPLC described the ADF as "one of the most influential groups informing the Trump administration's attack on LGBTQ rights 

In the United States, it has been reported that the ADF are behind the law known as SB8 in Texas, indeed their own website is very clear where they stand on a woman's right to choose - and that is not consistent with the views in the UK.

SB8 has made it incredibly difficult for a woman to get an abortion in Texas and some businesses have announced they will help employees if they suffer from the restrictions that SB8 imposes. The benchmark for the federal right of abortion is a case known as Roe v Wade. In recent weeks a furore has broken out when it was leaked that the right-wing based US Supreme Court plans to reverse women's abortion rights.  

In November 2021 The Nation reported this:

In January 2018, attorneys with the Alliance Defending Freedom outlined a plan to “eradicate Roe” that is now coming to fruition. Speaking at the Evangelicals for Life conference, ADF senior counsel Denise Burke announced that just that week, state lawmakers in Mississippi had introduced the nation’s first-ever 15-week abortion ban. Based on ADF’s model legislation, the bill was designed to provoke a challenge from abortion rights groups that, ADF hoped, would make its way to the US Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit, and then on to the Supreme Court.

“We’re kind of basically baiting them; come on, fight us on turf that we have already set up and established,” Burke said, according to audio provided by Peter Montgomery of Right Wing Watch, who reported on the panel at the time. “Once we get these first-trimester limitations in place, we’re going to go for a complete ban on abortion, except to save the life of the mother.

Certainly, in the U.K., we are witnessing more and more activity by pro-life (anti-abortion) activists, with demonstrations in Scotland particularly spurting a "Christian" message.

When it comes to trans folk the ADF are particularly interested in us with the US Transgender Law Center saying this

The proliferation of anti-trans student athlete bans is not homegrown hatred, and instead reflects the influence of powerful far-right anti-LGBTQ organizations and coalitions. Historically, groups like the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), Family Research Council (FRC), Liberty Council, and the Heritage Foundation have directly or indirectly fueled the introduction of many of these bans.

There are also a number of local or statewide groups organizing for the purpose of pushing a transphobic agenda. A number of state legislatures contain subgroups or caucuses who are primarily responsible for the creation and proposal of anti-trans legislation.

Notably, ADF played a key role in drafting the language for ID HB 500, which has become a framework for anti-trans athletics bans nationwide. For more on this, check out TransLash podcast’s It’s Not Really About Sports and their multi-part series The Anti-Trans Hate Machine: A Plot Against Equality, wherever you get your podcasts

The ADF also believe they have the right to interfere in kids' trans healthcare with Maureen Collins of the ADF posting a blog in October 2020. Part of the blog reads:  

What’s so disturbing about this increase is that many of these children are being put on a path to “change” their sex through medical and even surgical means. And if their parents disagree with that path, all the child needs to do is wait until their eighteenth birthday to continue.

Because this is largely a new phenomenon, there are very few studies on how these “treatments” are impacting people who identify as transgender long-term. But contrary to the claims of transgender activists, we do know that these “treatments” have immense negative consequences—many of which are permanent.

In regard to de-transition the rate is on average just 2% the vast majority of trans folk are delighted they transition. 

People can only have body autonomy if it suits the far-right agenda, it would seem and just how old was Keira Bell when she had her surgery? Strange that. 

In essence the Bell v Tavistock case, was a backhanded attack on Gillick Competence - a bedrock of rights for young people.

And surprise, surprise, checking out the ADF UK accounts in Companies House, this is in part what they declared:

ADF International (U.K.) staff have continued to carefully monitor cases coming before the courts of the United Kingdom and highlight cases which have a particular bearing on Christian principles and ethics. In particular, ADF International (U.K.) has prepared legal briefings on a number of cases - including Bell v The Tavistock Clinic, Reverend Dr William J U Philip and Others (Scotland), and Forstater v CGD Europe and Ors - highlighting the implications for Christians being able to live and worship in accordance with Christian principles and ethics.

ADF International (U.K.) staff have made several radio and television appearances to analyse the stories that affect Christians from around the world. Topics covered during these segments have included the right to freedom of religion and belief, the right to freedom of expression, and the challenges facing religious minorities in countries such as Afghanistan. Staff have appeared on G.B. News, The Spectator Podcast, and Talk Radio among other outlets.

ADF International (U.K.) staff have continued to contribute opinion pieces to a variety of media outlets on topics concerning the fundamental rights and freedoms guaranteed by the European Convention of Human Rights, and the ability of Christians to live and worship in accordance with Christian principles and ethics. These media outlets have included The Times, The Mail, and The Critic.

ADF International (U.K.) has submitted responses to public consultations that assessed the status of fundamental rights in the United Kingdom. These included submissions to the Joint Committee on Human Rights inquiry regarding freedom of speech in the U.K. and The Education Select Committee regarding proposed registration and assessment criteria for home-educating families.

Their declaration continues with this:

ADF International (U.K.) continued to promote the resource 'Christianity in the Workplace: An Employer's Guide to Christian Beliefs', launched two years ago. Staff have presented to various professional bodies including the cross-department 'Christians in Government' group that consists of government employees in Whitehall.

And this:

The 'Protect Free Speech' Campaign has continued. The campaign website has attracted over 25,000 views and resources produced as part of the campaign have been cited by a government policy paper. In particular, the national poll commissioned by ADF International (U.K.) has also been cited widely in the media and referenced in the Houses of Parliament during debate. As part of the campaign, ADF International U.K. has provided input to parliamentarians working on the Higher Education (Freedom of Speech) Bill.

And this:

During the year income increased by £198,381, to £720,704 (2020: £522,323), and expenditure also increased by £161,971, to £554,527 

Incredibly the ADF's income in the UK has increased yet again - by a massive 38% in just one year!

But then came a twist in this actual article which was first published at 16:12 on the 27th of May 2022. A tweet from us resulted in a response from Maya Forstater stating she had no association with the ADF. This has been backed up by a second source and rightly we apologised for any implication that was the case.

But Maya's response was also very enlightening.

Her tweet mentioned the names of Karon Monaghan a lawyer at Matrix Chambers. Monaghan features in our submission to GANHRI in relation to the failure of the Equality and Human Rights Commission (EHRC) which is being submitted to them today. Maya's tweet mentions Akua Reindorf also a Board Member of the EHRC.

Also, an EHRC Board Member is Alasdair Henderson, the centre of a Guardian article, heavily involved in the Keira Bell case, with apparent Christian links and we, know from our Freedom of Information requests he took an active part in the EHRC's intervention in Maya's Case.

Also, a member of the EHRC Board is David Goodhart who worked (perhaps still does) with the daughter of the Chair of the EHRC Kishwer Falkner at Policy Exchange. On this very day Policy Exchange published this little beauty called "Transgenderism and policy capture in the criminal justice systemGoodhart is on the Advisory Council of the Free Speech Union with various links to right-wing groups. 

Right-wing politics frankly scares me.

How close is the UK to fascism? 

Only time will tell. 


Words Steph

Re-write 09:02 30th May 2022




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