Anti-LGBT+ hate group appeals to Supreme Court to stop people calling it a hate group

Frank Wright, CEO of SPLC-designated anti-LGBT+ hate group D James Kennedy Ministries

An anti-LGBT+ hate group has asked the US Supreme Court to allow it to sue the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) to overturn its hate group status.

D James Kennedy Ministries, also known as Coral Ridge Ministries Media, is an evangelical Christian media organisation, founded in 1974, which broadcasts a weekly TV show.

The organisation has long been fighting its hate group designation from the SPLC, which monitors extremism across the US.

In 2019, a US district court dismissed a defamation lawsuit from D James Kennedy Ministries, ruling it was legal on free speech grounds for it to be labelled a hate group by SPLC.

The Florida-based evangelical organisation also tried to file a religious discrimination claim against Amazon, which had banned it from participating in Amazon Smile, its charity partner programme, because of its hate group status. This claim was also rejected.

Earlier this year, D James Kennedy Ministries tried to fight the ruling, but its appeal was also struck down. 

Now, it is taking its case to the US Supreme Court.

According to a press release from Christian Newswire, D James Kennedy Ministries submitted its brief to the Supreme Court on 24 November.

It asks the court to reconsider the precedent set by its decision in New York Times v Sullivan, a case which set a high bar for “public figures” in defamation cases, requiring them to prove intended malice.

Dr Frank Wright, televangelist and CEO of D James Kennedy ministries, said in statement: “That gives reputational terrorists like the SPLC carte blanche to attack and destroy its ideological enemies.

“We are asking the Court to give us and similarly situated ministries and individuals the ability to bring a claim for reputational harm that is currently denied under Sullivan.”

Following the ministry’s failed appeal earlier this year, SPLC president Richard Cohen described the case as “meritless”.

He said: “We list the D James Kennedy Ministries through which Coral Ridge does business as a hate group because it maligns the entire LGBT community, portraying it as perverted and a threat to the nation.”

The CEO of anti-LGBT+ hate group D James Kennedy Ministries once compared same-sex marriage to ‘marrying a Volkswagen’

Although D James Kennedy Ministries has repeatedly refuted its hate group status, it certainly has a hateful history when it comes to the LGBT+ community.

Earlier this year, the ministry’s CEO Frank Wright said during a livestream: “The destruction of marriage isn’t really about sexuality, it’s a left-wing idea, it’s a Marxist, socialist idea… destruction of the family [is] step one for overturning the government […] or any form of democracy.”

He then went on to compared marriage equality to tying the knot with a car.

Wright said: “I hate to break it to them, but many of our gay and lesbian friends, they’ve just been used by the left to destroy the historic definition of marriage and changed the criteria to only be that of love.

“If two people love each other, or some guy and his Volkswagen, he loves his Volkswagen, he ought to be able to marry his Volkswagen.”

The organisation has backed conversion therapy, and recently, over Thanksgiving, Wright said that people only “feel” oppressed on the basis of their “sex, sexual preference, gender identity and skin colour” because they aren’t “thankful” enough. Wright has also said that trans people are “undoing the very fabric of God’s creation”.