SCOTTSDALE, AZ — The U.S. Supreme Court listened to arguments Tuesday over whether a landmark civil rights protection law protects members of the LGBT community from employment discrimination.
Among the groups presenting arguments was the Scottsdale based conservative Christian organization, Alliance Defending Freedom. ADF has an impressive track record before the Supreme Court, winning nine cases.
But members of the LGBT community consider it a hate group and now an organization called Scottsdale Discriminates has launched an ad campaign targeting the group and by extension, the City of Scottsdale.
"What we're trying to do is educate folks about the Alliance Defending Freedom and the work they do to strip LGBT persons’ of their rights," spokesperson Geoff Esposito says.
The ads are parodies. They run on social media and cable TV. One is set in a restaurant the other on a golf course. Each congratulates ADF for insuring only straight people can be served or play.
"It's an easy mark to try and attack our brand and they know they're damaging it," Scottsdale Mayor Jim Lane says. "We don't know what initiated it and why we're targeted."
When asked, Scottsdale Discriminates would not reveal who it's members are. Esposito says the organization is made up of members from the LGBT community and people who support them.
"They hide behind anonymity. They spread lies and they attack people who disagree with their views," Jeremy Tedesco, VP for U.S. Advocacy for Alliance Defending Freedom said. "Scottsdale Discriminates is attacking us, smearing us. They don't like what we believe."
ADF attorneys have successfully defended people, like the owners of Brush and Nib in Phoenix.
They refused business from a same sex couple on religious grounds. Before the Supreme Court Tuesday, ADF argued on behalf of a Michigan Funeral Home owner who fired a transgender employee who wanted to dress as her identity, a woman, at work.
"Making residents aware and using that shock factor to make them aware is really important," Esposito said, "because they deserve the opportunity to stand up and say this doesn't reflect their view."
Jeremy Tedesco with A-D-F counters, "we win cases because we make arguments protecting everyone's freedom."
Caught in the middle is the City of Scottsdale, simply because Alliance Defending Freedom calls the city home.
"By the fact that they reside here, their headquarters, that implicates us as being a community of discrimination," Mayor Lane says. "It's an out and out lie."