What is New in the United States? – The details were spared when the event appeared this summer on the public schedule of the Attorney General Jeff Sessions . He would talk about religious freedom to a group called Alliance Defending Freedom. No exact location has been specified. No information media would be allowed.
This is only after an uproar about such a secret – and anti-homosexual positions of his sponsor – that a transcript of the remarks of Mr. Sessions emerged on a conservative site . "Many Americans felt that their freedom to practice their faith was attacked," he said at a meeting in Orange County, California. "The challenges facing our nation today regarding our right to the" free exercise "of our faith have become acute."
Mr. The goal of Sessions was not an accident. The first amendment has become the most powerful weapon of social conservatives struggling to limit the separation of church and state and to roll back gay marriage laws and human rights. Abortion
Few groups have done more to advance this legal thinking than the Alliance Defending Freedom, which has more than 3,000 lawyers working on behalf of its causes around the world and reported $ 51.5 million in revenue for 2015- American Civil Liberties Union .
Among the successes of the alliance has brought cases involving relatively minor conflicts to the Supreme Court – a law limiting the size of church signs a Church seeking funding for a playground ] – and winning judgments that establish major constitutional precedents.
But he hopes to carve out an even wider sphere of protected religious expression that term when judges must hear two of his cases, a challenge to a California law that requires " crisis pregnancy centers ," which are executed by abortion opponents, to provide the victims with women information on how to get an abortion, and another in which he represents a baker from Colorado who refused to make a cake The Marriage of a Homosexual Couple
While abortion is the last legal flush in a long-standing battle led by social conservatives to limit the effect of Roe v. Wade, the Colorado baker's case, which the court will hear next month, will test whether groups such as the alliance can persuade the court to blunt the same way on ] scan of Obergefell c. Hodges The decision that sanctioned same-sex marriage, as well as anti-discrimination laws protecting homosexuals and homosexuals
If there is a battle somewhere to restrict the protection of homosexuals, lesbians or transgender people, chances are the alliance is there to fight it. The alliance defended the owners of a wedding chapel in Coeur d'Alene, Idaho, who did not want to perform same-sex ceremonies. He tried to stop a law in Charlotte, N.C., which gave transgender people the right to use the bathroom of their choice . He supported the failed attempt of the Arizona legislature in 2014 to allow businesses to quote religious freedom by diverting same-sex couples.
"We believe that in a free society, people who believe that marriage is between a man and a woman should not be forced by the government to promote another vision of marriage, "said Jeremy Tedesco, a lawyer and vice president of US advocacy. United for the group, which is based in Scottsdale, Ariz. "We must understand how to live in a society with pluralistic and diverse views."
] But Civil Rights Groups Gay rights advocates say that the Alliance Defending Freedom's arguments on religious freedom and freedom of expression mask another motivation: a deep belief that homosexuals are immoral and that no one should be forced to recognize them as ordinary members of society.
"They are a very powerful part of this larger movement, which is trying to bring a very particular biblical world view to domination at all the levels of government and society, "said Peter Montgomery, a senior member of People for the American Way, a liberal advocacy group
"They have very large, very clear goals," said Montgomery, who has been studying Alliance Defending Freedom since the group's founding in 1994.
One of these objectives was to defend laws that criminalized homosexual sexual behavior.
In a brief the alliance asked the court su Although not to overthrow a Texas law that made homosexual activity illegal, his lawyers described homosexual men as sick and as risks to public health. The court decided 6 to 3 that the law was unconstitutional
The United States is not the only place where the group has been active. Before Belize's highest court overturned a law last year banning "carnal unnatural reports," the group sent activists to work with local lawyers who tried to keep the ban in place. . In India, a lawyer affiliated with the Alliance Defending Freedom was part of the legal team that defended a similar law in the country's Supreme Court. This law remains in force, although the Indian court recently reported that it could re-examine the question
And when Russia approved a law in 2013 that imposed a fine for what? he calls the propaganda of "non-traditional" intercourse between minors – A movement that led to calls to boycott the 2014 Olympics – Alliance Defending Freedom produced a nine-page memo in support of the law, saying was to protect "the psychological or physical well-being of minors".
Mr. Tedesco stated that the group had never supported the criminalization of homosexual activity. In Belize and India, he noted, the laws that the group supported also applied to heterosexual sodomy. He described the involvement of the alliance in both countries as "a small group of lawyers" who wanted to "resist foreign activists who were trying to challenge their public health law."
Asked whether he and other advocates of the alliance thought that homosexuals were immoral, Mr. Tedesco stated: "I will not go into what the Bible says or teaches about homosexuality."
The rulers of 39 Alliance have not always been so reluctant.
Alan Sears, one of the founders of the group and its long-standing president until recently, wrote a book in 2003 with Craig Osten entitled "The homosexual program" in which they described the possible consequences of same-sex marriage. "Why not two men and three women, or two men, a woman, and a dog and a chimpanzee?" The book said. "It means that marriage will not be better than anonymous sodomy in a public bath."
How the alliance approaches the case of the Colorado baker, Jack Phillips, is an illustration of his evolving public relations strategy . No more fiery denunciations of homosexuals and lesbians sinful and reprobate.
A sophisticated multimedia campaign, called "Justice for Jack," portrays Mr. Phillips as a victim of heavy state bureaucrats. Put on a soft piano music, a video describes how Mr. Phillips received death threats, hateful phone calls and lost 40% of his business.
"It's not a case of refusing business," says Phillips's daughter on camera. "It's about having the freedom for him to artistically create something that allows him to honor Christ."
Donald Knapp, the Heart Chapel of Alene The owner who sued the city because he feared a new order from nondiscrimination would compel them to marry homosexual couples, said that the alliance had not only taken over his case but had also resulted in Scottsdale to meet with other leaders of ########################################### 39, Christian enterprise. in similar positions.
"The ADF was just trying to help us know what to say, how to express our position, what we believe in", said Mr. Knapp in an interview. "They spent a lot of time with us."
Homosexual rights advocates recognize what they are facing. "They know that these are messages that work better, and they no longer direct with the messages they're used to making:" Homosexuals are pedophiles and we need to keep them away from our kids " James Esseks, an ACLU attorney who focuses on issues of gender identity and sexual orientation, said: "It's a very intentional change, a very strategic shift."
In Washington, the close ties of the alliance with the Justice Department of Mr. Sessions seem to deepen.In September, the Ministry filed a memorial arguing that Mr. Phillips should not be forced to violate his faith.
] "There is no clear dividing line between his speech and his client he added. "He gives effect to his message by making a unique product with his own hands."