Anti-LGBTQ group freaks out after Amazon blocks it from using donation system to raise money

The Alliance Defending Freedom has been blocked from using the retailer's charitable AmazonSmile donation system.

Anti-LGBTQ group claims Amazon is marginalizing Christians because the retailer won't allow it to use the charitable AmazonSmile donation system. (CREDIT: Fox News/Screenshot)
Anti-LGBTQ group claims Amazon is marginalizing Christians because the retailer won't allow it to use the charitable AmazonSmile donation system. (CREDIT: Fox News/Screenshot)

One of the nation’s largest anti-LGBTQ organizations claims that it’s been treated unfairly because of its homophobic, transphobic, and other derogatory positions.

This week, the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) became upset after learning that Amazon would not allow customers to make donations to the group through the AmazonSmile program, which gives a small percentage from the  purchase price of eligible products to a customer’s chosen charity.

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ADF is using that complaint to fuel its ongoing conservative campaign to deligitimize the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), which — among other things — tracks various hate groups. ADF is one of many organizations the SPLC has designated as an anti-LGBTQ hate group for its long record of demonizing queer people and advocating for discrimination against them.

Amazon has traditionally relied on SPLC’s designations to disqualify these hate groups from the AmazonSmile program. This isn’t new. The Family Research Council, another SPLC-designated hate group, complained about its own disqualification over three years ago. Last year, D. James Kennedy Ministries (DJKM), another hate group, sued Amazon along with GuideStar for relying on the SPLC’s designations. Guidestar had already relented, but Amazon didn’t.

Right-leaning Fox News was more than happy to give ADF a platform Friday morning to share its story of persecution, just as it did last year when ABC News identified the organization as a hate group. In neither case did Fox News attempt to parse why the SPLC designates ADF a hate group. Instead, the network simply described it as a “religious freedom” group and let ADF attorney Kristen Waggoner attack Amazon and the SPLC.

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“Amazon needs to realize it’s marginalizing not just those of the Christian faith, but those of the Jewish, Islamic faiths who share similar beliefs,” Waggoner said. “We stand for the fundamental freedoms of all Americans, even those we disagree with and those from all walks of life.”

This is untrue. Indeed, Waggoner is the attorney who presented oral arguments to the Supreme Court on behalf of Jack Phillips, the Colorado baker who refused to sell wedding cakes to same-sex couples.

American Atheists noted this hypocrisy on Friday, tweeting, “Funny how the same people who think that they shouldn’t have to sell cakes to same sex couples seem to want to force a private business to give them money directly. Last I checked, Amazon will still sell stuff to ADF.”

ADF has a long record of advocacy against LGBTQ equality. A recent article in the Colorado Times Recorder, for instance, documented the extent to which ADF has been involved in anti-LGBTQ efforts in Colorado over the past year. Those efforts include:

  • A so-called “Live and Let Live” bill like Mississippi’s that would allow discrimination on the basis of one’s beliefs in marriage. ADF not only drafted the language, but also submitted several witnesses to testify in its favor.
  • A so-called “Children First” bill that would allow adoption agencies to discriminate against same-sex couples without risking their state funding — not unlike bills that passed this week in Kansas and Oklahoma.
  • ADF is also continuing to pursue a lawsuit that would overturn Colorado’s LGBTQ nondiscrimination protections.

ADF also drafts policies for schools to discriminate against transgender students, drafts bills to mandate public discrimination against transgender people, has  represented parents who wanted to intervene when schools affirm transgender students, and has represented schools that wanted to maintain discrimination against transgender students.

And none of those actions are even among the top reasons the SPLC designates ADF a hate group:

Founded by some 30 leaders of the Christian Right, the Alliance Defending Freedom is a legal advocacy and training group that has supported the recriminalization of homosexuality in the U.S. and criminalization abroad; has defended state-sanctioned sterilization of trans people abroad; has linked homosexuality to pedophilia and claims that a “homosexual agenda” will destroy Christianity and society. ADF also works to develop “religious liberty” legislation and case law that will allow the denial of goods and services to LGBT people on the basis of religion.

Amazon, like many other big tech companies, has a history of supporting LGBTQ equality, and it may even be a factor in deciding the location of its new headquarters. The company has no obligation help a hate group raise money.