Post submitted by Saurav Jung Thapa, former Associate Director, HRC Global
The Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), the largest anti-LGBTQ legal group in the U.S., has appointed Michael Farris, a notorious anti-LGBTQ activist, as its new president.
Media Matters reported Farris as “an experienced fearmonger and fundamentalist lawyer” and a “veteran of the religious right” whose anti-LGBTQ work stretches back to the 1970’s and his involvement in Jerry Falwell’s Moral Majority initiative.
HRC has documented how ADF, which has thousands of lawyers working to pass hateful and discriminatory laws, uses its vast resources, including an annual budget of over $50 million, to promote laws that discriminate against LGBTQ people throughout the U.S. and in 31 countries including Belize, Jamaica and India. Many of these efforts seek to retain national laws that criminalize consensual adult same-sex relations with prison terms or defend existing anti-sodomy laws.
ADF pushes an aggressively anti-transgender message that includes litigation to institute discrimination against transgender people and it has undermined efforts to prevent bullying against LGBTQ youth by targeting school districts that teach tolerance.
Additionally, the group supports those who seek to discriminate against LGBTQ people under the guise of religious freedom. Media Matters reported that ADF has been behind the recent national push for so-called “religious freedom” laws promoting discrimination against LGBTQ people by claiming the need to protect religious liberty. ADF is leading the national effort to pass anti-transgender, such as North Carolina’s notorious HB 2. Many of these bills seek to deny transgender individuals, including students, from using the bathrooms and locker rooms that are consistent with their gender identity.
HRC will continue to monitor the actions of ADF and Farris and to stand up for the rights of LGBTQ people at home and abroad. Read more about HRC Global’s work here.