A Tale of Two Times Square Billboards: ADF Shoots Down 'Hate Group' Allegations
On Monday, the prominent religious freedom law firm Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) will unveil its own billboards on New York City's Times Square, responding to a billboard released last month. That billboard attacked ADF by name, associating it with the message "No Gays Allowed."
ADF's billboards will respond with two messages: "Tolerance is a two-way street: ADF believes in truth not trolling," and "I am ADF," a message with photos of the firm's clients. While groups like the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) list ADF as a "hate group" along with the Ku Klux Klan, ADF proudly represents people of all walks of life — Indians fighting for religious freedom, a black mother concerned for her daughter's privacy, a Hispanic pastor running a women's shelter, and many more.
Ironically, "the very anonymous, non-transparent group behind the billboard" is named Citizens for Transparency, ADF Senior Counsel Jeremy Tedesco told PJ Media. "They completely misrepresent the work we do and the clients we serve."
"All they're really doing is copying and pasting the Southern Poverty Law Center's misrepresentations of our work," he argued. The SPLC has marked ADF an "anti-LGBT hate group," accusing the law firm of supporting forced sterilization for transgender people and of fighting to recriminalize homosexuality.
Citizens for Transparency's Times Square billboard directs viewers to the website www.nogaysallowed.org, which lists the SPLC attacks on ADF. Caleb Cade, a spokesman for the shady group, told NBC News they launched the billboard "to remind people that there are still really insidious forces at work against our community. ADF has been leading that war for a long time, with tens of millions of dollars to do it."
ADF's Times Square billboards direct viewers to two sites: www.truthnottrolling.org and www.iamadf.org. The "Truth Not Trolling" site directly addresses these attacks and many more from the "No Gays Allowed" site.
"ADF and ADF International categorically condemn the forced sterilization of anyone, including transgender persons," ADF explains. "The claim is a willful misrepresentation of a brief that ADF International filed in A.P., Garçon and Nicot v. France."
Tedesco explained the case to PJ Media. "The issue in France was what conditions France could put on for someone to change their sex on government documents," he said. Not only did France not require anyone to undergo forced sterilization to change their legal status, but France "changed their law during the case of litigation to emphatically make that clear."
Even more importantly, ADF did not even address that issue. The European Court of Human Rights (ECHR) forbade them from doing so. Instead, ADF's brief focused on the limitations of the treaty giving ECHR authority over France.