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She lied

Judge Amy Coney Barrett said in 2017 that she did not believe the Alliance Defending Freedom was an anti-LGBTQ hate group. And yet at this week’s Supreme Court confirmation hearings, she claimed to be unaware of ADF’s efforts.

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Senate Holds Confirmation Hearing For Amy Coney Barrett To Be Supreme Court Justice
Supreme Court nominee Judge Amy Coney Barrett testifies before the Senate Judiciary Committee on the third day of her Supreme Court confirmation hearing on Capitol Hill on October 14, 2020 in Washington, D.C.
Photo by Anna Moneymaker-Pool/Getty Images

Let me walk you through this, and why I think it should matter to LGBTQ athletes, coaches, fans and allies, regardless of political affiliation.

In case you didn’t already know, the Alliance Defending Freedom is an extremist anti-LGBTQ hate group of attorneys and activists that is working at this very minute to discriminate against children and young adults who want to compete in sports but the ADF wants them banned, for being who they are. And that’s not all:

  • The ADF supports laws still on the books that classify being LGBTQ+ as a crime in the U.S. and abroad. On its website, the organization clarifies that it does not support the “recriminalization” or “passage of laws criminalizing homosexuality.”
  • The ADF believes it is okay to put LGBTQ+ people in prison for engaging in consensual sex.
  • The ADF endorsed laws in Europe requiring the forced sterilization of transgender people in 2015. On its website, the organization claims that is “bogus” and “utterly false,” and that it merely supported the rights of European nations to establish their own laws and not abide by international court rulings, and had nothing to do with trans sterilization laws. Umm, yeah, that’s not true.
  • The ADF has linked being LGBTQ+ to pedophilia. On its website, the organization denies this, but its own former president is a co-author with another ADF member of a book claiming this, and declaring same-sex relationships lead to “despair, disease and early death.”
  • The ADF claims that a “homosexual agenda” will destroy society (by the way, that’s the title of the book by Alan Sears and Craig Osten!). On its website, the organization says that our society is actually endangered by “left-wing activists;” It’s true that an online reference to “the homosexual agenda destroying society” no longer appears on its site. But in another part of, the ADF attacks the “homosexual agenda” for clashing with “religious freedom.” Aha, I see: not “society,” per se, but “religious freedom.”
  • The ADF supports conversion therapy. On its website, the organization claims this is false but then bizarrely defends “therapy” and attacks anti-conversion therapy “laws that outlaw certain counseling goals— such as seeking personal life changes related to one’s sexual attractions or gender identity,” stating that those kinds of anti-conversion therapy laws “deny people the help they desire.”

If all this is news to you, don’t just take my word for it; look at the many stories about ADF in Outsports. The Southern Poverty Law Center also says so. But not everyone seems to know.

Judge Amy Coney Barrett appears to be one of those... or so she said.

She testified under oath, at her hearing to be confirmed as the next associate justice on the U.S. Supreme Court, that she was unaware of ADF’s work.

“Were you aware of the ADF’s decades-long efforts to recriminalize homosexuality?” asked Sen. Patrick Leahy (D-VT) on Tuesday.

Judge Barrett replied: “I am not aware of those efforts, no.”

That’s odd.

In 2017, then-professor Barrett testified at her confirmation hearing to become a judge that she knew who ADF was and she knew about the Southern Poverty Law Center’s work to fight discrimination by labeling hate groups. And Barrett said she couldn’t imagine the ADF being a hate group.

“I did not have that impression of ADF,” Barrett said at the time. “And ADF, if it were truly a hate group, it wouldn’t be co-counsel right now. It has a brief in the Supreme Court with Wilmer Hale, which is one of the most reputable and esteemed law firms in the country. And they wouldn’t be co-counsel with ADF if it were a hate group.”

Then-Sen. Al Franken (D-MN) was the one asking the questions, which revolved around Barrett accepting money from an ADF subsidiary, the Blackstone Legal Fellowship, to speak at one of its events. Barrett claimed ignorance.

“I actually wasn’t aware until I received the honorarium and saw the ADF on the check, or maybe when I saw an email and saw the signature line,” Barrett said in 2017.

Franken is now a private citizen following his resignation over #MeToo accusations. There’s a video on C-SPAN that runs a little over seven and a half minutes, with the highlights of his 2017 back and forth with Barrett.

On Wednesday, Franken posted another video to YouTube, this one just about 90-seconds long, pitting that encounter against a bit from Tuesday’s hearing. He did so to accuse Judge Barrett of lying about what what she knows about ADF. Watch:

There seems to be nothing that can stop Judge Barrett from becoming the next associate justice on the high court. I’m not questioning her legal bona fides. Here’s what matters:

  1. She is someone who took money from the ADF, an anti-LGBTQ extremist hate group that is fighting in federal courts to stop trans-feminine student athletes from competing with cisgender girls and women, and also to uphold an Idaho law that bans trans girls and trans women from competition.
  2. She doesn’t think the ADF is a hate group. Yes, she’s entitled to her opinion. But so am I:
  3. Based on testimony she gave in 2017, Judge Amy Coney Barrett lied under oath during her Senate confirmation hearing this week about not being aware of the terrible things ADF is doing. That’s my opinion, and not mine alone.

“So what?” some will ask. Tell that to the next LGBTQ athlete who loses their right to compete because ADF has a seat on the U.S. Supreme Court.