Equality Matters

A New York Times Columnist Spoke At A Fundraiser For A Group Working To Criminalize Gay Sex

October 21, 2014 9:53 am ET - by Carlos Maza

New York Times columnist Ross Douthat spoke at a fundraising event for the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), a right-wing legal group that works to defend anti-LGBT discrimination and supported the criminalization of homosexuality.

On October 16, ADF held an event titled “The Price of Citizenship: Losing Religious Freedom in America” in Denton, Texas. The event, which focused primarily on highlighting the alleged tension between LGBT equality and religious liberty, featured a conversation between radio show host Hugh Hewitt and Douthat.

The event also featured an appearance from the Benham brothers, the right-wing activists who lost their HGTV reality show because of their history of extreme anti-gay, anti-choice, and anti-Muslim rhetoric:

The event touched on a number of popular right-wing horror stories about LGBT equality, from the plight of anti-gay bakers and florists, to the outrage over the recent subpoenaing of several Houston pastors. David Benham, who has previously warned that the gay “agenda” is “attacking the nation,” urged the audience to take “dominion” of the media and legal system back from the “sexual anarchy agenda”:

DAVID BENHAM: Unfortunately, the church, now that we have the keys to authority that Christ gives the Christian church, we give that dominion back through our silence. And so what we see now is the struggle for dominion. And one of the ways that we’ve lost dominion is because Christians, unfortunately, don’t believe in the sovereignty of God. God is sovereign over all things. The Bible says in Psalm 24 “the Earth is the Lord’s and everything in it,” including government, entertainment, media, education, the legal system, everything. My finances, my sexuality, everything is under God. … Does this agenda, this sexual anarchy agenda, does it want dominion? Take a look. Has it got dominion in government? Has it got dominion in entertainment? Has it got dominion, I mean, you name it, in the marketplace? Yes. Absolutely it does. How does God get dominion back? ... The government exists for the punishment of evildoers and for the reward of those who do good. The problem is, is when we switch good and evil and evil and good. There’s only one institution that can fight that dominion battle, and that’s the church. [emphasis added]

Douthat has used his platform at the Times to lament efforts to prohibit anti-gay religious business owners from discriminating against gay customers. But his attendance at an ADF event is still surprising.

ADF is notorious for its work defending anti-LGBT discrimination. The organization has partnered with anti-LGBT hate groups, crusaded against allowing gay people into the Boy Scouts, opposed basic anti-bullying efforts in schools, and defended California’s Proposition 8. In the 2003 Supreme Court case decriminalizing gay sex, ADF filed a brief in support of state anti-sodomy laws. The Southern Poverty Law Center has called the group “virulently anti-gay.”

ADF’s international work is even more disturbing. In late 2013, the organization sent chief counsel Benjamin Bull to Russia to meet with one of the country’s leaders in the fight tocrackdown on its LGBT community. And the group has been involved in defending Belize’s Section 53, a law that criminalizes gay sex.

General admission for the event was $15 dollars, and VIP reserved seating went for $100. At the end of the event, ADF solicited donations from the audience, announcing a dollar-for-dollar matching pledge from an anonymous donor and encouraged attendees to provide their information to ADF employees on their way out:


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