Southern Poverty Law Center names Alliance Defending Freedom a hate group

Posted at 10:10 PM, Feb 21, 2017
and last updated 2017-02-22 08:53:42-05

A Scottsdale-based group says they're champions of religious freedom, the right to life, and marriage between a man and a woman. But now, they're getting a new label: hate group.

That distinction for Alliance Defending Freedom comes from the Southern Poverty Law Center. The center has now labeled a total of 18 organizations in Arizona as hate groups.

Remember the so-called "religious freedom" law in 2014? SB 1062? ADF helped draft that, it passed through the state House and Senate, but was eventually vetoed by then-Governor Jan Brewer.

But the damage was already done, according to some.

"We've only just labeled them a hate group, but it seems like they've been doing this a long time," explained Kevin Patterson, board president of Equality Arizona.

Patterson says ADF's actions and views don't just impact his community, they impact the entire state.

"That's not good for business. It's not good for our state to have organizations out there that do everything they can to undermine what's so great about Arizona."

We reached out to ADF for an on-camera interview. Instead, the group's Vice President of Communications issued the following statement in an e-mail:

"Instead of name-calling, defaming, and dividing, SPLC should do something productive like promoting social harmony and civil discourse. Until then, we will go about our business defending, affirming, and advancing fundamental freedoms and human flourishing across the globe through effective legal advocacy."

To view the SPLC's interactive "hate map," click here.