A new campaign from the National LGBT Bar Association in the United States is taking a stand against anti-LGBT legal groups.
COMMIT to INCLUSION asks attorneys across the country to affirm their commitment to equality by refusing to work with anti-LGBT legal groups like Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) and Liberty Counsel.
The campaign pledge reads in part: We commit to inclusion by ensuring that our personal pro bono and volunteer capacity and personal financial resources will not be used to support the work of ADF and Liberty Counsel.
Part of the campaign’s assets include a fact sheet of both ADF and Liberty Counsel. It includes their budgets and LGBT stances.
ADF, founded by James Dobson and Marlin Maddoux in 1994, had an annual expense budget of $48 million in 2016. Their revenue for 2016 was $51.7 million.
Maddoux said the purpose of ADF is to ‘give Christians a unique way to fight back against the radical attacks of groups like the ACLU, homosexual activists, and anti-family activists’.
ADF represented baker Jack Phillips in the recent Masterpiece Cakeshop case. They also filed an amicus brief against marriage equality during Obergefell.
Mathew D. Staver, meanwhile, founded Liberty Counsel in 1989.
This group had $5.3 million expenses in 2015, with $5.6 million in revenue.
In 2003, they challenged New York City’s plan to expand Harvey Milk High School, a public school for LGBTQ youth. They also represented Kim Davis, the infamous clerk who refused to issue same-sex marriage licenses.
‘These groups are scary’
In a video as part of the campaign, various lawyers and leaders outline the danger of these legal groups.
‘They have a long-term goal to chip away at LGBT rights,’ Cathy Sakimura says in the video. She’s the Family Law Director at the National Center for Lesbian Rights.
LGBT Bar Association Executive Director D’Arcy Kemnitz warned against recent events that reveal the battle for equality and rights is taking place at the courts.
‘With the recent Supreme Court decision in the Masterpiece Cakeshop case, the announced retirement of Justice Anthony Kennedy, and more and more court victories for those seeking a license to discriminate, fair-minded attorneys committed to diversity must push back. If we don’t take these threats seriously and act accordingly, we could face long term legal setbacks for LGBT people.’
Kemnitz finished: ‘When you help anti-LGBT legal groups – even on matters not relating to LGBT issues – you hurt LGBT people.’