BLOGAbout That Times Square Billboard

By Sarah Kramer Posted on: | November 17, 2018

Citizens for Transparency – that’s the group behind an ad prominently displayed in Times Square that reads: “No Gays Allowed. STOP Alliance Defending Freedom.” The campaign is aimed at discrediting the successful work that Alliance Defending Freedom does to preserve our fundamental freedoms of speech, religion, and conscience.

The group behind this is clearly trying to smear us behind the shade of anonymity. A Citizens for Transparency spokesperson has claimed that the organization is a “group of concerned queer folks that want to fight back against ADF and what they’re doing.”

But here’s the thing. ADF works to defend the right of all Americans to live according to their beliefs. That applies for those behind Citizens for Transparency as much as it does for our clients. We fight for freedom for all.

And we have defended that right at the highest levels.

In fact, we recently won our ninth case at the U.S. Supreme Court in seven years. Our most recent Supreme Court case, Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, was a 7-2 victory – where the Supreme Court found that the State of Colorado acted with impermissible hostility toward Colorado cake artist Jack Phillips’ religious beliefs.

But we defend freedom of religion and freedom of speech in other areas as well.

The ADF Center for Academic Freedom has won approximately 400 victories for free speech on college campuses, ensuring that universities remain a “marketplace of ideas” for millions of students and faculty. We also protect houses of worship when the government treats them worse than secular organizations simply because of their religious beliefs and status.

The bottom line is that ADF has a demonstrable track record of legal victories that protect First Amendment freedoms.

Citizens for Transparency, on the other hand, is anything but transparent. There isn’t a website for the group or readily available contact information. And the domain name purchases for the anti-ADF campaign website are hidden.

Here is what we do know about Citizens for Transparency:

  1. They are an anonymous group with major donor backing.
  2. They are trumpeting the same old talking points from the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC).

You might remember that the SPLC has classified ADF as a “hate group.” And while the SPLC used to do good work, it has lost its way. It now labels everything it disagrees with as hate, lumping in conservative groups whose views it opposes (such as ADF) with some truly hateful groups, such as neo-Nazis and white supremacists.

This false characterization has led to disastrous results. For example, after the SPLC classified the Family Research Council as a “hate group,” a man walked into the FRC headquarters with a gun and, oddly enough, a bag of Chick-fil-A sandwiches. He told the FBI that he intended to shoot as many employees as possible and rub the sandwiches in their faces. His motivation? He targeted FRC because of its inclusion on the SPLC’s “hate map.”

And let’s not forget that the SPLC recently paid a $3.375 million settlement and issued a public apology to Maajid Nawaz. The SPLC had labeled Nawaz an anti-Muslim extremist despite the fact that he is a Muslim himself and advocates against Muslim extremism. On top of that, there are reportedly around 60 other organizations that are considering taking legal action against the SPLC for defamation.

Not exactly what you would call a reliable source.

But that hasn’t fazed Citizens for Transparency, which seems content to hide behind its anonymity while it copies and pastes false claims from the SPLC.

Maybe Citizens for Transparency would like to follow its own mission and offer a little transparency about who it really is.

But something tells me that wouldn’t play too well on a billboard.

Sarah Kramer

Digital Content Specialist

Sarah worked as an investigative reporter before joining the Alliance Defending Freedom team.

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