Anti-LGBT+ hate group leader mingled with Republicans at Trump’s White House ‘super-spreader’ event

Alliance Defending Freedom

The leader of a notorious anti-LGBT+ Christian hate group was invited to the exclusive White House event marking the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett for Supreme Court, it has emerged.

Michael Farris, CEO of Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), shared a photo of himself at the Rose Garden gathering on September 26, asking followers to pray for Coney Barrett’s “rapid confirmation”.

The event is currently under scrutiny and has been labelled a “super-spreader” after a number of attendees, including Donald Trump, tested positive for coronavirus.

Videos seen by the Guardian show Farris mingling with Republican senators including Mike Lee (who also tested positive), though ADF was quick to point out he “has never met Amy Coney Barrett in any capacity”.

The ADF was officially designated as an anti-LGBT+ hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center in 2017.

According to the SPLC’s profile, the ADF and its members have “regularly demonised LGBT people, falsely linking them to pedophilia, calling them ‘evil’ and a threat to children and society, and blaming them for the ‘persecution of devout Christians'”.

“The group also has supported the criminalisation of homosexuality in several countries,” it adds.

Since its creation in 1994 the ADF has opposed same-sex civil unions, marriages, adoptions, and even the repeal of sodomy laws. It has also defended the state-sanctioned sterilisation of trans people abroad.

Lately the group has been representing three high-school students in a bid to ban trans children from competing on sports teams according to their gender identity.

Particularly worrying is the ADF’s recent attempts to manipulate the judiciary, attempting to get a judge disqualified from the case because he refused to allow them to misgender trans people in the courtroom.

Amy Coney Barrett’s ties to group are well known: she previously held a paid position as a speaker for the ADF’s Christian law school training program to inspire a “distinctly Christian worldview in every area of law”.

Senators questioned Barrett on this role during a 2017 confirmation hearing for her federal court position, noting that she had been paid five times by the group since 2011.

Barrett claimed that she knew of the program through colleagues who taught for it and students who participated, and that she did not initially know it was run by ADF.

“I’m invited to give a lot of talks as a law professor. I don’t know what all of ADF’s policy positions are, and it has not been my practice to investigate all of the policy positions of a group that invites me to speak,” she told the Democratic senator Al Franken.

She also challenged the ADF’s hate group status, noting that it was co-counsel on a Supreme Court lawsuit alongside WilmerHale, a respected law firm.

“They wouldn’t be co-counsel with ADF if it were a hate group. I assure you they wouldn’t be co-counsel with the KKK,” she insisted.