Alliance Defending Freedom

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...their (The ADF's) ultimate goal is to see the law and U.S. government enshrined with conservative Christian principles
—Profiles of the ADF at Right Wing Watch,[1] SourceWatch,[2] and the Southern Poverty Law Center[3]

Alliance Defending Freedom (formerly known as the Alliance Defense Fund until 2012) is a right wing religious legal group with an income of nearly $40 million in 2010. On the basis of its extremist viewpoints on homosexuality, transgender people, and evangelical Christianity, it is designated a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center.[3]


The ADF is dedicated to:

  • Opposing abortion
  • Protecting the religious freedom of Christians; i.e.:
  • Combating threats to their narrow-minded travesty of family values; i.e.:
    • Homosexuality - The ADF supports the criminalization of gay people having sex, opposes same-sex marriage and civil unions, and believes that a "homosexual agenda" will undermine Christianity.[4] They have set up a "Day of Truth" in an attempt to counter the Day of Silence.[5] They also support a Christian who wants to hand out Bibles at gay pride events.[6][7]
    • Transgender people - The ADF is responsible for the drafting of numerous anti-trans bathroom bills,[8] and defended a Christian charity's decision to reject a homeless trans woman from staying in their shelter.[9] The ADF is additionally responsible for ghostwriting many sports bans on transgender women and other laws depriving transgender people of their rights.[10] They have also (unsuccessfully) defended laws which required the forced sterilisation of trans people.[11]
    • Pornography
    • Sex education
    • The Internet
  • Generally giving Christians, especially conservative Christians, power to deny freedom to others.
  • Pushing for classroom prayer (often times Christian prayer).
  • Fighting the War on Christmas.


The group was conceived as a conservative counter to the ACLU. They have, on occasion, done some good -- if self-serving -- work for Christian groups that are unfairly prevented from using school property by officials who don't understand the Establishment Clause. But, then again, so has the ACLU.[12]

On the other hand, they have helped defend the right of the Boy Scouts of America to discriminate against gays. The very nature of their mission runs counter to both the spirit and letter of the Constitution of the United States.

Starting in 2008, they have cajoled right-wing pastors into observing Pulpit Freedom Sunday, an intentional violation of the tax-exempt status of those pastors' churches.[13]

Incidentally, Bill O'Reilly likes them.[14]


Major donors include James Leininger, Erik Prince, Bill and Bradley Foundation, Richard and Helen DeVos Foundation, Berniece Grewcock Foundation, and the Bolthouse Foundation, which insists that "man was created by a direct act of God in His image, not from previously existing creatures".[15][1]

International impact[edit]

The Christian Legal Centre is a British organization suspected of receiving funding from the ADF. The CLC and ADF jointly set up the UK based Wilberforce Academy, which tries to train Christians as public leaders. Overall the Christian Legal Centre is less successful than the ADF claims to be.The Christian Legal Centre has lost a high proportion of the cases taken on,[16] while the ADF claims a high success rate.[17]


Polling evidence suggests that the percentage of Christians in the United States falls by about 1% yearly. As the proportion of Christians continues to decline the culture in the United States is likely to more closely resemble that of Britain, making it harder for the ADF to win cases.

Moment of supreme irony[edit]

In April 2013 ADF attorney Lisa Biron was found guilty of child pornography when she filmed her own 14-year-old daughter having sex with two men on multiple occasions, and the ADF moved swiftly to whitewash their connection to Biron by removing mention of her on the ADF web site and Facebook page.[18] Biron got 40 years in prison.[19]


  1. 1.0 1.1 Alliance Defense Fund and Alliance Defending Freedom, Right Wing Watch.
  2. Alliance Defense Fund and Alliance Defending Freedom, SourceWatch.
  3. 3.0 3.1 Alliance Defending Freedom at the Southern Poverty Law Center.
  4. Alliance Defending Freedom Through The Years Southern Poverty Law Center.
  5. Group makes noise over Day of Silence NBC News. 4/12/2005.
  6. Michael Allen, Christian Brian Johnson Sues to Hand Out Bibles at Gay Pride Rally., 3 April 2012.
  7. If successful this could set a precedent allowing secularists to hand out material by authors like Richard Dawkins at Christian events. Can these Christians think things through? See also, Man sues after being restricted from passing out bibles., 5 April 2012.
  8. This Law Firm Is Linked to Anti-Transgender Bathroom Bills Across the Country NBC News. April 8, 2017.
  9. Christian Shelter Defends Choice To Reject Homeless Transgender Woman Huffington Post. 01/14/19.
  10. Mark Joseph Stern, It Wasn’t About Bathrooms, and It’s Not About Women’s Sports. Slate, 7 April 2021.
  11. Alex Amend, Anti-LGBT Hate Group Alliance Defending Freedom Defended State-Enforced Sterilization for Transgender Europeans. Southern Poverty Law Center, 27 July 2017.
  12. The ACLU fights for Christians. 20 March 2015.
  13. No Theocracy, Thanks., 1 February 2012.
  14. Anna Dimond and Joe Brown, What is the Alliance Defense Fund, and why does Bill O'Reilly advocate donating to it? Media Matters, 14 October 2005.
  15. Christian Legal Centre fights more than 50 religious discrimination cases
  16. For examples, take a look at Wikipedia's page on the Christian Legal Centre
  17. The Work of Alliance Defending Freedom where in 2015, they claim "80% of all cases litigated have been won" and "38 U.S. Supreme Court victories"
  18. Anti-gay activist lawyer guilty of child pornography after videotaping daughter, Salon
  19. Former Manchester lawyer sentenced to 40 years for producing child pornography