The ADF Ministry Alliance Blog

Get the latest news on cases, legislation, and more impacting churches and ministries

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Last week, President Joe Biden signed into law the misnamed Respect for Marriage Act (RFMA), which, among other things, repealed the federal Defense of Marriage Act and enshrined same-sex marriage into federal law. The law expands not only what marriage means in the law, but also who can be sued for disagreeing with its new meaning. The newly enacted law also opens the door to litigation against those who disagree with the new definition.

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PAST POSTS

Christian camps are places where childhood memories are made, adult respite is found, and lifelong spiritual commitments develop. When believers get together outside of everyday activities, they can grow in relationship with one another. Camps also provide a sacred space where the busyness of life can be exchanged for quiet moments with God.

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“Hide it under a bushel? No! I’m gonna let it shine!” That’s a line from the popular children’s song “This Little Light of Mine,” which has been sung by countless children, in many different languages, all across the globe. But what does a line from a children’s song have to do with religious freedom? Quite a lot, actually. The famous line is derived from a portion of Christ’s Sermon on the Mount. In Matthew 5:14-16, Jesus tells His followers: “You are the light of the world. A city set on a hill cannot be hidden. Nor do people light a lamp and put it under a basket, but on a stand, and it gives light to all in the house. In the same way, let your light shine before others, so that they may see your good works and give glory to your Father who is in heaven.” Letting your light shine before others, in both public and private spheres, is greatly benefitted when the government respects our right to express and practice our religion. This is at the heart of our Generational Win to see religious freedom prevail. At ADF, we’re working to restore religious freedom as a fundamental right that benefits all Americans. Unfortunately, not everyone shares this sentiment.

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Last week, President Joe Biden signed into law the misnamed Respect for Marriage Act (RFMA), which, among other things, repealed the federal Defense of Marriage Act and enshrined same-sex marriage into federal law. The law expands not only what marriage means in the law, but also who can be sued for disagreeing with its new meaning. The newly enacted law also opens the door to litigation against those who disagree with the new definition.

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For over 40 years, the Wyoming Rescue Mission has assisted the community of Casper, Wyoming. It serves community members who are homeless, struggling with addiction, or simply need someone to come alongside and help them through a difficult time. Sharing the good news of Jesus Christ is at the core of the Mission’s purpose. Through its work with the less fortunate, the Mission strives “to see lives transformed and healed through the Grace of Jesus Christ.” In order to accomplish this goal, the Mission must have the freedom to hire employees who share the same Christian beliefs. But the government sought to undermine this goal by forcing the Mission to hire employees who openly reject those beliefs. Let’s take a closer look at this case.

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As soon as the U.S. Supreme Court overturned Roe v. Wade in June, activists went to work mischaracterizing the ruling. Many used the decision—and particularly Justice Clarence Thomas’s concurrence—to claim that the Court could revisit other rulings, including the one in Obergefell v. Hodges, which created a constitutional “right” to same-sex marriage.

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Through her business, 303 Creative, Lorie creates unique and beautiful websites for her clients. Like Jack, Lorie serves everyone. She just cannot express all messages because of her deeply held religious convictions. But because of the law, Lorie could be punished simply for offering to create websites only celebrating weddings consistent with her beliefs.

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Should male athletes who identify as transgender compete in women’s sports? If you’ve listened to any major news outlets recently, you’d hear a resounding “yes.” Athletes who identify as—then compete against—the opposite sex are often celebrated in the media. Collegiate athlete Lia Thomas, a male swimmer from the University of Pennsylvania, was applauded after winning the NCAA women’s championship in the 500-yard freestyle in March 2022. CeCe Telfer, a male runner, was similarly commended after winning the NCAA Division II national championship in the women’s 400-meter hurdles in 2019. And the media cheered as Laurel Hubbard, a 43-year-old male weightlifter from New Zealand, became the first athlete to compete against the opposite sex in the Olympics during the 2021 Tokyo Games.

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In case you missed it, Title IX is undergoing some serious changes. If implemented, these sweeping changes stand to change the landscape of schools across the nation. Read this blog for the Top 5 Things You Need To Know.

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Choosing a doctor is about more than just location and convenience. Many people want to find a provider who shares their beliefs, who will take time to understand their situation, and who will consider not just their physical health, but their emotional and even spiritual needs, as well. For many Michigan residents, Christian Healthcare Centers fits the bill. Based in the western part of the state, Christian Healthcare is a faith-based organization that focuses on serving the community, including those who cannot afford medical care. But now, thanks to a Michigan state law and a pair of recent court rulings, Christian Healthcare’s ability to operate as a faith-based medical organization is in jeopardy.

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On July 19, the U.S. House of Representatives passed the Respect for Marriage Act (RFMA), a bill designed to enshrine same-sex marriage into the American legal fabric. The bill passed with 267 votes in favor to 157 votes against, with a surprising 47 Republicans voting in favor of entrenching same-sex marriage into law. It’s one of several pieces of unnecessary legislation that codify what is already available by law, such as access to contraception.

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In a 6-3 decision, the U.S. Supreme Court ruled in Carson v. Makin that the state of Maine cannot exclude students who attend religious schools from a government program in which they are otherwise qualified.

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For children from low-income families and underprivileged neighborhoods, lunch at school may be the most nutritious meal they eat all day. Thankfully, there are federal programs in place to ensure that these kids can access breakfast, lunch, and a snack at school, no matter which school they attend. One school that has received such federal assistance is Grant Park Christian Academy in Tampa, Florida. But now that the Biden administration is redefining Title IX, the children’s ability to receive their lunches may be in jeopardy. Click here to read more.

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In general, parents are best positioned to protect their children’s health and welfare. But not everyone agrees with that. Parental rights, the natural, God-given rights parents have to guide the upbringing, care, and education of their children are being challenged. In today’s culture, we can’t take these rights for granted, especially since some school administrators are intentionally keeping parents in the dark about the indoctrination taking place on their children at school.

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Roe v. Wade is no longer the law of the land when it comes to abortion policy. Praise God! The Supreme Court has reversed nearly five decades of unconstitutional legal precedent and affirmed that there is no constitutional right to end a child’s life in the womb. States may now protect the unborn! What happens next?

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On December 8th, the U.S. Supreme Court will hear oral arguments in an important case involving religious freedom and school choice. The Court decided to hear the case, Carson v. Makin, after a District Court and the First Circuit Court of Appeals both ruled against parents in Maine who want to apply funds from a state tuition program to tuition at religious schools.

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We continue this month with our “A Vision for Freedom” series, highlighting ADF’s “Generational Wins” initiative. Generational Wins are significant legal and cultural victories, rooted in the truth of Scripture, that can change the trajectory of law and culture for decades. Generational Wins encapsulate five strategic goals that, with God’s help, will make a lasting impact on our country now and in the future. Click here to read about the Generational Wins we’re working to achieve together.

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The story of Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) is a story of God’s faithfulness, goodness, grace, and provision. And it’s also a shining example of how God works through people open to His calling.

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A mission statement is central to the identity of all organizations. And to advance that mission, institutions need people who align with their core values and actively carry them out. This is especially true for a ministry because what it believes is at the core of everything it does. And if its mission includes teaching and spreading those beliefs, then it is critical that the ministry—rather than the government—decides who performs this vital function. This is why our courts have recognized the principle of the “ministerial exception.”

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January 22, 1973, marked a dark day in our country’s history. On that day nearly 50 years ago, the Supreme Court handed down its infamous Roe v. Wade decision that legalized abortion nationwide.

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In Vermont, not every town has a public high school. In order to make sure that every student has access to a quality high school education, Vermont uses the Town Tuition Program, where towns provide funding for students to attend a public school in another town or enroll at a private school. This program has been around since 1869, making it the oldest school choice program in the country.

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For years, Holston Home has received some of its reimbursement for services through the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services, to help sustain its child-placement activities. However, now the federal government is threatening to cut off that critical funding if Holston Home refuses to surrender their deeply held views on faith, family and marriage.

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In the summer of 2021, the Biden administration made it clear that a national vaccine mandate was “not the role of the federal government.” But just weeks later, it went back on its word.

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It seems the Biden administration is demanding conformity to its ideological agenda at all costs. And when it comes to its radical plan to change the meaning of “sex” in federal law, it's female athletes who will pay a heavy toll.

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Earlier this week, Senator Lindsay Graham introduced Senate Resolution 407 , legislation that celebrates religious schools and their contributions to our country by designating the first week of October as “Religious Education Week.”

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Imagine if you had escaped government oppression in search of freedom and safety for your family in a new country

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For many families, where you attend college is a source of pride. Many attend where their parents and grandparents attended, and they hope to send their own children to that same campus.

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Earlier this month, the Senate passed the long-awaited infrastructure bill . While pundits on both sides of the aisle have spent months debating and covering the numerous provisions of this 2,700-page bill, one not-so-small piece of troubling language has been flying under the radar.

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The First Amendment protects the right of religious universities to decide the faculty they want to hire or promote. That means Christian colleges are free to choose who teaches the faith.

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Seattle’s Union Gospel Mission cares for over a thousand homeless people every day and shows them the love of Jesus that they so desperately need to see. But right now, the state of Washington is threatening the Christian mission of this important ministry.

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No church should be forced to cover abortions, and certainly not a church like Cedar Park that dedicates its ministry to protecting and celebrating life

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What exactly is freedom of speech and why is it important?

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In 2018, the City of Philadelphia froze all referrals to foster families working with Catholic Social Services, and the timing was peculiar.

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A church or house of worship needs to maintain independence from government control in certain fundamental ways.

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On April 11, 2020, Virginia’s Governor Ralph Northam signed into law the Virginia Values Act. The bill treats sexual orientation and gender identity as protected classes in non-discrimination law.

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Now families in Vermont who want their children to receive an education at a religious school can do so on the same basis as other families.

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Our Constitution protects the right of faith-based institutions to operate according to their beliefs. It also protects our freedom by separating power and limiting government.

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Under this new rule pushed forward by President Biden, the College of the Ozarks will be threatened with ruinous fines, damages, and even criminal penalties if it continues to operate consistently with its beliefs.

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The free exercise of religion matters, especially during a pandemic. It’s nice to know that a majority on the U.S. Supreme Court agree.

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Punishing people and institutions of faith because they exercise their religious beliefs is unconstitutional. And that’s why this lawsuit should concern every American.

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The Fairness for All Act would violate the freedom of speech, conscience, and religion. The impact would be real, tangible, and immediate.

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The deceptively named “Equality Act” would add “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” as protected classes to existing laws banning discrimination in places of public accommodation, employment, housing, and by recipients of federal financial assistance.

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Today, the “Equality Act” was introduced in Congress. With a Democrat-controlled House and Senate, the passage of this legislation is more likely than ever before. And President Joe Biden campaigned on the promise that he would sign the Act into law within his first 100 days if passed.

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Children deserve our fiercest protection. But a legislative priority of the Biden administration threatens a particularly vulnerable group: children in the foster and adoption care system.

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The essence of the “Equality Act” is its addition of “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” as protected classes to existing federal nondiscrimination laws. While this might sound nice to some, this legislation is deceptively named. The “Equality Act” actually poses a devastating and unprecedented threat to the religious freedom of business owners and creative professionals nationwide.

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The bottom line is that SOGI legislation like the “Equality Act” doesn’t offer equality or fairness. It offers victims.

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January 16 is National Religious Freedom Day. For many Americans, this day carries more weight than in recent years – because of what churches have encountered this past year and the challenges ahead.

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The State of California began forcing churches to cover abortions in their health insurance plans in 2014. Even worse, many of these churches were not even informed about this change in coverage.

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When a family in South Hero requested tuition reimbursement for Rice, their school district denied the request. Why? Because “Rice is a religious school.”

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It seems that some government officials in Virginia have decided that their preferred political ideology trumps free speech and religious freedom.

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When a family in South Hero requested tuition reimbursement for Rice, their school district denied the request. Why? Because “Rice is a religious school.”

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Over the Labor Day weekend, the State of Nevada allowed streams of tourists to crowd the Las Vegas Strip. News reports observed that not everyone was practicing social distancing or wearing the state-mandated face coverings while visiting popular attractions. Yet, the State continues to cap church services at 50 people indefinitely—regardless of the church’s building size or its rigorous health and safety protocols.

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It’s not often that you end up sharing a jail cell with your dad and your oldest son. But that’s exactly where David Benham found himself.

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In the past few months, the U.S. Supreme Court has issued several decisions that impact religious organizations. To help church and ministry leaders break down the impact of these rulings, ADF attorneys recently hosted a webinar where they discussed what the Court said about federal employment law, COVID-19 restrictions, protections for religious ministries, and more.

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Imagine that new neighbors move in next door. You’re not entirely sure how many kids live there, but you know it’s a lot. And judging by the frazzled demeanor of the adults, it’s clear that they are overwhelmed.

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When’s the last time you saw an ideologically diverse group of people come together over a common cause?

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School voucher programs provide low-income families with schooling options for their children. That is, unless these families live in Maryland and want to send their students to a private school that holds beliefs that the government doesn’t like.

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Want to get through college cheaper and faster? That’s a no-brainer for many high school students and their parents, especially with the rising cost of college tuition. And that’s exactly why dual enrollment programs exist. They allow high school students to take free college courses and receive both high school and college credit.

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This past term at the U.S. Supreme Court was interesting to say the least. For the first time ever, oral arguments were conducted over the phone due to COVID-19 precautions.

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It’s been an eventful four years for Georgia Gwinnett College graduate Chike Uzuegbunam.

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No one should be forced to pay for or participate in abortion – least of all pro-life groups like March for Life.

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While the “Equality Act” may initially sound nice to some ears, this bill actually poses a devastating and unprecedented threat to religious freedom and the progress that women have made toward true equal treatment in law and culture

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Proponents claim these bills would promote tolerance and inclusion. In reality, they would open the door to government-mandated discrimination, inequality, and coercion.

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On January 10, a U.S. district court dismissed a lawsuit challenging the exemption churches receive from filing annual returns with the IRS.

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School voucher programs provide low-income families with schooling options for their children. That is, unless these families live in Maryland and want to send their students to a private school that holds beliefs that the government doesn’t like.There, state officials are targeting a Christian school because of its beliefs – and they are harming low-income students in the process. That’s why this school is fighting back.

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“Clarity is reasonable.” That’s the tagline on ChurchClarity.com. And while it may seem reasonable and relatively harmless, there are reasons to be skeptical about its real objective.

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A good name is important. Without it, individuals, businesses, ministries, and churches face an uphill battle.

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Alone in the cold, homeless women in Anchorage, Alaska need somewhere to turn—somewhere to feel safe. Many of these women are victims of unspeakable trauma, including domestic violence, sexual assault, and even sex trafficking. But often, the only refuge from the cold is a co-ed shelter where these women feel unsafe due to the presence of men. Some of them would rather sleep in the woods in the frigid Alaskan temperatures than next to a man.

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Want to get through college cheaper and faster? That’s a no-brainer for many high school students and their parents, especially with the rising cost of college tuition. And that’s exactly why dual enrollment programs exist. They allow high school students to take free college courses and receive both high school and college credit. But not all students are welcome to participate in this program… at least not if they attend a private religious school in Vermont.

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In March, members of the U.S. House of Representatives and U.S. Senate introduced the “Equality Act,” which adds “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” as protected classes to existing nondiscrimination laws. The House voted to pass the “Equality Act” in May. And while it might sound innocent enough, the “Equality Act” actually poses a severe threat to our First Amendment freedoms – our freedom of religion and speech in particular.

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Starting a new church is no easy task. You have paperwork to fill out and bylaws to draft.

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In 2016, Sarasota County informed Englewood Christian School that it needed a special permit to operate. But when it applied for the special permit, it was denied. This was odd considering that charter schools in Florida are allowed to operate out of any church. But apparently, religious schools like Englewood don’t get the same treatment.

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Legislators in both houses of Congress proposed the “Equality Act” in March, and the U.S. House of Representatives passed this legislation in May. If this bill becomes a law, it would add “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” as protected classes to laws prohibiting discrimination. While the law was put forth under the guise of “tolerance” or “inclusion,” in reality, it poses a serious risk to religious liberty. And children waiting for loving homes will be collateral damage. How? Because the “Equality Act” would decrease the number of organizations that are working to find children loving homes.

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For over 25 years the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) has protected believers against laws and regulations that would force them to stop serving the general public and retreat within their walls. But now RFRA is being threatened. Congress has proposed the “Do No Harm Act”, which would strip the protections that RFRA provides for people of faith

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School supply lists, back-to-school shopping, squeezing in one last family trip… That’s how my family typically spent the last few weeks of summer leading up to a new school year. By that time, our plans were set for the fall. We knew where we would be attending school, who our teachers would be, and what was on our reading list. But this wasn’t the story for some families in Maryland during the past school year, who found themselves scrambling to enroll their children in a different school at the last minute.

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You might expect churches and religious schools, of all places, to remain safe from the government’s meddling hands. Our Constitution does guarantee religious freedom, after all. But if the “Equality Act” is passed, not even churches and religious schools will be safe from the government’s reach.

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It’s ridiculous to prohibit organizations from hiring employees that are on board with the organizational mission. Yet, that is exactly what is happening in South Euclid, Ohio.

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It’s easy for homeless women to feel like outcasts—like they don’t matter and are not loved. This is why the Downtown Hope Center exists.

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In 2016, Sarasota County informed the church that it needed a special permit in order to operate. And when it applied for that special permit, it was denied.

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You’ve probably heard about them, or at the very least their aftermath. They’re called sexual orientation, gender identity laws – and they have been enacted in cities across the United States

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Currently, 22 states have SOGI laws, and here at ADF, we’ve seen what a truly negative impact these laws can have.

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2018 was a banner year here at Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF). And we’re not the only ones who noticed.

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