When a business is open to the public, it should be open to everyone on the same terms. Most of us can agree on that. But not Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF).
ADF opposes laws that protect lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender (LGBT) people from discrimination. These laws are on the books in 19 states and more than 200 cities, and they’re very similar and often the same as laws that prohibit discrimination based on race or religion.
The vast majority of Americans support these laws, but ADF doesn’t. Why?
- Alliance Defending Freedom believes that being LGBT isn’t part of who a person is; they believe it’s a sinful choice.
“Homosexual behavior and acting out on gender identity disorder are behaviors. These things are not something that is unchangeable like skin color or sex or disability…If you have attraction for people of the same sex, you don’t have to act out on that attraction… I personally am friends with many people who used to identify as homosexual. They used to engage in homosexual behavior, and they don’t anymore.” –ADF attorney Joseph LaRue
- Alliance Defending Freedom asserts that nondiscrimination laws are an attack on Christians—specifically those who want to discriminate against LGBT people.
“SOGIs [nondiscrimination laws on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity] elevate sexual preferences over our cherished fundamental freedoms, especially religious freedom. These ordinances place terms like “sexual orientation” or “gender identity” in the same category as race or religion. But they are not designed for the innocent purpose of ensuring all people receive basic services. Rather, their primary effect is to legally compel Christians to accept, endorse, and even promote messages, ideas, and events that violate their faith.” —ADF Faith in the Workplace handbook
- Alliance Defending Freedom believes that for-profit businesses open to the public should have the same religious exemptions as churches.Churches and faith-based charities have always had some exemptions from nondiscrimination laws, such as hiring exclusively within their faith or only hiring men for certain jobs. However, ADF believes those exemptions should apply to all businesses—not just religious charities. They argue that there is no difference between for-profit businesses and nonprofit religious organizations for purposes of religious exemptions:
“In some contexts, for-profit businesses are treated differently than non-profit religious organizations, but a proper interpretation of constitutional protections and most religious-freedom laws should not distinguish between the two.” —ADF Faith in the Workplace handbook
- Alliance Defending Freedom claims that a religious right to discriminate is not limited to religious organizations or even wedding vendors.
Senior counsel and vice president Joe Infranco admitted that they believe a restaurant owner can legally kick out same-sex couples, although they acknowledge that it wouldn’t look good:
“The answer is the publicity will be a major headache. Even if you have certain rights, I just think it’s a lot clearer for people when the objection is, ‘I don’t want to be a part of a ceremony that my religious beliefs prohibit’…But you know there’s always this matter of individual conscience.”
- Alliance Defending Freedom teaches religious businesses and organizations how to get away with discrimination.They recommend requiring a “statement of faith” and “religious job descriptions” that help allow the organizations to “consider an applicant or employee’s religious beliefs” or religious conduct “in hiring and firing.”
“The organization should create written descriptions for every employment and volunteer position…descriptions should explain how the position furthers the organization’s religious mission.” —ADF Protect Your Ministry handbook