Works to Legalize Discrimination Against LGBT People

  • In 2017, ADF argued before the Supreme Court on behalf of Jack Phillips -- a Christian baker in Colorado who refused to bake a wedding cake for a gay couple based on his religious beliefs -- in the Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission case. In 2018, the Supreme Court narrowly ruled in favor of ADF’s client based on the particulars of the case. The high court said the Colorado Civil Rights Commission showed “hostility” toward Phillips' religious beliefs when one commissioner made "inappropriate and dismissive comments." The ruling thus left “the possibility that other cases raising similar issues could be decided differently,” according to The New York Times. Religious exemptions cases such as Masterpiece Cakeshop could have broad repercussions for LGBTQ people and could legalize discrimination against them in the marketplace by allowing businesses to deny services and goods to LGBTQ people. [The New York Times9/16/176/4/18]
 
  • In 2017, ADF advised Attorney General Jeff Sessions to write a sweeping Department of Justice memo on religious exemptions, which makes it easier for people and businesses to discriminate against LGBTQ people, among others, under the guise of “religious freedom.” [Vice News, 10/9/17Media Matters10/6/17]
  • ADF has been involved in writing, supporting, and defending religious exemption bills in Indiana, Arizona, Georgia, Arkansas, Colorado, South Dakota, and West Virginia. These laws give religious organizations, businesses, and individuals broad license to discriminate against LGBTQ people. [Media Matters, 10/11/17]
 
  • In Mississippi, ADF helped write, justify, and defend a religious exemptions law that has been called the “most sweeping and devastating state law to be enacted against LGBTQ people in the country.” According to the Human Rights Campaign, the law could allow faith-based organizations to “refuse to recognize the marriages of same-sex couples for provision of critical services including emergency shelter; deny children in need of loving homes placement with LGBTQ families including the child’s own family member; and refuse to sell or rent a for-profit home to an LGBTQ person.” In addition, Lambda Legal said the law allows "medical and social service agencies to discriminate against Mississippians based on so-called 'moral' objections." [Human Rights Campaign, 10/3/17The Washington Post7/21/16Media Matters, 10/11/17; Lambda Legal, 12/16/16]
 
  • ADF represented a client in Michigan who fired an employee for coming out as transgender. After the U.S. Court of Appeals for the 6th Circuit ruled against ADF’s client, ADF senior counsel Gary McCaleb said, “American business owners, especially those serving the grieving and the vulnerable, should be free to live and work consistently with their faith.” ADF’s news release on the case repeatedly misgendered the transgender employee. [The Associated Press, 3/7/18; Alliance Defending Freedom, 3/7/18]
 
  • ADF submitted public comment asking the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) to rescind several LGBTQ-inclusive protections that it categorized as infringing upon religious organizations’ and other medical providers’ “religious freedom.” The comment, which denounced asking for medical providers to “treat as valid the marriage of same-sex couples,” came before HHS announced a new “Conscience and Religious Freedom Division” in January, which makes it easier for health care providers to discriminate against and deny medically necessary services to LGBTQ people. ADF praised HHS after it announced the creation of the division. [Alliance Defending Freedom, 11/23/171/18/18; NBC News, 1/20/18]
 
  • ADF represented the owner of a bed-and-breakfast in Hawaii who denied a room to a lesbian couple based on her religious beliefs. On its website, ADF claimed that the owner of the accomodations has the “right not to promote behavior her faith teaches is immoral” and is protected from associating “with people who are unwilling to respect her deeply held religious beliefs.” [The Associated Press, 2/26/18; Alliance Defending Freedom, accessed 5/10/18]
 
  • In 2017, ADF asked the Supreme Court to take up a case regarding its client Barronelle Stutzman, the owner of a flower shop in Washington state who declined to provide floral arrangements for a gay marriage. [Alliance Defending Freedom, 2/25/18Tri-City Herald7/14/17]
 
  • In 2018, ADF presented oral arguments to the Arizona Court of Appeals on behalf of the owners of a calligraphy studio, Brush & Nib, in Phoenix who filed a lawsuit in 2016 against the city’s nondiscrimination ordinance “that prohibits discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.” [Alliance Defending Freedom, 4/23/18; The Associated Press, 10/27/17]
 
  • In 2018, ADF filed a brief to the Kentucky Supreme Court on behalf of the owner of a promotional apparel printer in the state who refused to print shirts promoting the Lexington Pride Festival. [Alliance Defending Freedom, 4/11/18]
 
  • In 2017, ADF filed an appeal on behalf of the owners of a video production company who had sued Minnesota in 2016 “arguing that a provision of the Minnesota Human Rights Act unconstitutionally prohibited them from refusing service to homosexual couples,” according to the St. Cloud Times. [St. Cloud Times, 10/20/17]
 
  • In 2018, ADF filed an appeal for a graphic designer who had unsuccessfully challenged Colorado’s Anti-Discrimination Act because she wanted to refuse services to same-sex couples and weddings. [Alliance Defending Freedom, 2/15/18]
 
  • For more examples, go here.