Dangerous Liaisons - 2013-07-10
The Alliance Defending Freedom (until last year Alliance Defense Fund) is a Scottsdale, Ariz.-based legal organization founded in 1994 by 30 prominent Christian leaders in response to what they saw as "growing attacks on religious freedom." A powerhouse with an annual budget of more than $30 million, the ADF's website says it works "tirelessly to advocate for the right of people to freely live out their faith in America and around the world."
With a staff of 44 lawyers and an additional 2,200 who are allied with the organization, the ADF works globally because it sees "a risk of winning a domestic battle while potentially – in time – losing the world." Among other things, the group is dedicated to protecting students' freedom of religion, human life from the moment of conception, and traditional marriage. Its website states that it is active in 31 foreign countries and describes a number of global initiatives. But one aspect of its international work goes unmentioned.
For three years, a ferocious legal and public relations battle has been waged in Belize, a Central American country of some 356,00 people, over an existing criminal statute that can lead to imprisonment for private sexual acts between consenting adults of the same sex. The fight is over the constitutionality of Section 53 of Belize's criminal code, which prescribes a 10-year sentence for "carnal intercourse against the order of nature with any person or animal." The ADF and a few other hard-line U.S.-based religious-right groups have joined this fight, providing legal and other advice to those seeking to keep LGBT sex illegal in as many countries as possible.