Tuesday, July 18, 2017

Alliance Defending Freedom spokesperson cries 'fake news' while omitting her group's paper trail of homophobia

ADF's Kerri Kupec made a faux pas in defending her group.
Apparently all of the attention focused on the homophobic deeds of the Alliance Defending Freedom and SPLC naming them and other religious right organizations as hate groups has exploded into a huge controversy.

Granted, this controversy is overshadowed by the GOP continuously Keystone Kops-like efforts to repeal Obamacare and the firestorm over Trump's alleged Russia connections during last year's election.

Nevertheless, it is huge ado because now ADF is dragging ABC News into the storm.

From One News Now:

A leading Christian law firm is pushing back against an ABC News story that labels them a "hate group," describing it as "journalistic malpractice." Alliance Defending Freedom invited Attorney General Jeff Sessions to a conference on religious freedom last week. In an apparent attempt to link President Trump's attorney general to some scandal, ABC News – reporting on the AG's participation in the conference – trotted out an accusation that ADF was an "anti-gay hate group." ADF's director of communications, Kerri Kupec, says the phraseology was an old trope made up by the left-leaning Southern Poverty Law Center.

One News Now's article was a biased, one-sided interview with Kupec whining about how supposedly SPLC is intolerant to ADF's seemingly innocent goals of "protecting religious liberty." Usually, I would be crying foul, but not this time.

Kupec, you see, proceeded to put ADF in a hole with the following claim:

In its report, ABC says ADF (according to SPLC) "specializes in supporting the criminalization of homosexuality abroad." To which, Kupec responds: "I have no idea where that came from. That's fake news, for sure."

So is Kupec saying that her organization doesn't support the criminalizing of homosexuality in foreign countries? Or if we were to parse her words to exact phrasing, is she saying she doesn't know where that idea came from?

If the latter is the case, one wonders if Kupec is lying or has she not checked the history of her employer?

The media watchdog group Media Matters (via its companion site Equality Matters) provided specific examples  in 2014 of ADF supporting the efforts in foreign countries to criminalize homosexuality:

 In December 2012, the Jamaica Coalition for a Healthy Society hosted an international conference titled “Human Rights, International Law and the Family” in Kingston. The event was aimed at discussing how the fight for LGBT equality -- including a legal challenge to the country’s anti-sodomy law -- threatened “the traditional, natural family.” Jeffrey Ventrella and Piero Tozzi, two senior legal counsels for ADF at the time, spoke at the conference. During his address at the conference, Tozzi spoke in defense of anti-sodomy laws, touting them as a “bulwark” against an unidentified “agenda”

 ADF has also worked to help defend Belize’s Section 53, a law that criminalizes gay sex. As the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) reported in 2013, ADF attorneys offered legal assistance to Belize Action, a local group working to keep homosexuality criminalized.

 In December 2011, India’s Supreme Court voted to restore the country’s colonial-era law banning “carnal intercourse against the order of nature.” The ruling reversed a 2009 decision by the Delhi High Court, which found the law unconstitutional. Under India’s criminalization statute, gay sex is punishable by up to 10 years in prison. In an interview with One News Now, Alliance Defending Freedom Global executive director Benjamin Bull applauded the Supreme Court’s decision for not “giv[ing] in to a vocal minority of homosexual advocates”

What's more, a few days ago, another watchdog site, Think Progress, provided specific proof that ADF worked to keep the sodomy laws here in the United States. These were the same laws overturned in 2003 by the SCOTUS case Lawrence vs. Texas:

 . . . back in 2003, ADF attorneys wrote not one but two different amicus briefs supporting Texas in the case Lawrence v. Texas. This was the case in which the Supreme Court ultimately overturned sodomy laws, but ADF was advocating that homosexuality remain criminalized. “Contrary to what’s been reported in the mainstream news media,” attorney Jordan Lorence said at the time, “there is a lot of opposition to the cultural drift toward condoning same-sex relationships and same-sex marriage.” In one brief, ADF attorney Glen Lavy argued that because “same-sex sodomy is an efficient method of transmitting STDs” — “far more effective in spreading STDs than opposite-sex sodomy” — it is thus “reasonable to believe that same-sex sodomy is a distinct public health problem.” The brief detailed the supposed preponderance of anal incontinence and “gay bowel syndrome,” emphasized the virulence of HIV, and concluded that banning consensual gay sex is in the interest of public health. Lavy still serves as ADF’s corporate counsel.

What interesting about all of this is that today, Media Matters pointed out that several  right-wing groups and news services are coming to ADF's defense by attacking SPLC.  And just like Kupec, they are avoiding the issue at hand, i.e. the accusations lodged against ADF.

But just like One News Now's feeble attempt to provide ADF some cover, their attempts will be unsuccessful because the LGBTQ community has truth on our side.

And an extensive paper trail backing it up.

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