Questioning Barrett, Leahy repeats false claims, religious broadcasters say

Alliance for Defending Freedom (ADF) defended conscience rights among Vermont health care workers in 2016 suit

By Guy Page

Tuesday, October 13, during the second day of hearings to examine the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett to the U.S. Supreme Court, Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) repeated false information in his criticism of the judge for having spoken to Christian law students participating in a program of Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), according to a statement issued yesterday by the National Religious Broadcasters (NRB)

In the exchange in question, as seen in this YouTube video (at one minute, seven seconds), Leahy asks Barrett: “Were you aware of the ADF’s decades long effort to recriminalize homosexuality?” Barrett replied, “I am not aware of those efforts, no.”

One minute, seven seconds into this video, Sen. Patrick Leahy questions SCOTUS nominee Amy C. Barrett

In response to Leahy’s characterization of ADF’s work, the following statement was issued by Troy Miller, CEO of NRB, the nation’s preeminent association of Christian broadcasters and communicators, of which ADF is a member:

“Sen. Leahy re-iterated false reports that can be traced back to smear campaigns from groups such as the Southern Poverty Law Center, who label conservative groups and individuals as hateful for holding Biblically-based views on marriage and human sexuality. ADF, like NRB and countless other conservatives, believes that all people are made in the image of God and that everyone is worthy of dignity and respect. Moreover, ADF is a reputable organization that has been working for nearly three decades to preserve the fundamental freedoms of speech and religion for all Americans. It deserves respect, not vilification. Even if we do not agree on issues or understand the other’s point of view, we should be respectful.”

ADF refutes the charge laid by Leahy on its “setting the record straight” website page: “ADF has never supported the passage of laws criminalizing homosexuality.”

ADF does have a history of advocacy law in Vermont. In 2016, it helped the Vermont Alliance for Ethical Healthcare fight for the rights of healthcare providers opposed by conscience to not participate in Act 39, the physician-assisted suicide law.