Mike Pence joins forces with leader of hate group ahead of expected 2024 run
Former Vice President Mike Pence has previously aligned himself with the group, Alliance Defending Freedom, as both have worked to fight against LGBTQ rights.
Mike Farris, the president and CEO of Alliance Defending Freedom, a group that is reportedly behind many of the anti-transgender bills making their way through state legislatures, has joined the advisory board for former Vice President Mike Pence’s new group, Advancing American Freedom.
Farris’ position with the group was not disclosed when Advancing American Freedom first publicly launched on April 7.
Advancing American Freedom claims it exists to promote the purportedly “pro-freedom” policies of the Trump administration and to “prevent the radical Left” from enacting a policy agenda.
However, some pundits are saying the group is helping Pence keep his name in the public eye in anticipation of a 2024 election run, after he lost the 2020 election to President Joe Biden and Vice President Kamala Harris while on the ticket with Donald Trump.
In the last few months Alliance Defending Freedom, which has been designated by the Southern Poverty Law Center as a hate group, has been working behind the scenes on multiple state bills to restrict transgender rights.
At least 22 bills in 17 states have been introduced with the goal of completely banning or limiting transgender participation in school sports activities. Other bills have sought to restrict health care for transgender children.
Alliance Defending Freedom has significantly boosted these efforts by providing legislators with so-called “model legislation” lawmakers can use to easily adapt anti-transgender bills for their states. The group also sends purported experts to testify in favor of these discriminatory bills in state legislatures.
In addition to working against transgender rights, Alliance Defending Freedom has worked to recriminalize sex for LGBTQ people, promoted false claims about pedophilia among LGBTQ people, and opposed the right of women to have an abortion.
Farris is also the head of the Home School Legal Defense Association and Patrick Henry College. In 2012, Farris said that homosexuals cannot exist at the college because they “could not sign our honor code” which requires that students be “sexually pure.”
In the 1970s, Farris worked as the head of the legal department for Concerned Women for America, a group that opposed the Equal Rights Amendment, which would enshrine women’s equality in the U.S. Constitution.
In Pence, the religious right has had a reliable ally for his entire political career, stretching from his time in Congress as a representative, to his tenure as governor of Indiana, and extending to the Trump administration.
He stood firmly as an ally while the Trump administration removed protections for LGBTQ Americans from the Affordable Care Act, opposed the Equality Act, and banned transgender military service, among other initiatives.
As governor of Indiana, Pence signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, which allowed businesses to discriminate against LGBTQ people without fear of legal backlash.
After signing that legislation in 2015, Pence received public support from Farris, who told Time magazine at the time that it positioned him to “win the Republican nomination” in 2016 by “standing firm” against criticism of the legislation.
Years later, when he was in the White House as vice president, Pence hosted Alliance Defending Freedom in an official capacity to discuss their agenda.
Published with permission of The American Independent Foundation.
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