SCOTTSDALE, AZ (3TV/CBS 5) - “Scottsdale is home to some of the greatest golf courses in the world. Here on our links, you can be sure that men are men and women are women, and there are no mulligans on your gender,” a satirical golfer said in a short, but bold new advertisement.
The campaign is called “Scottsdale Discriminates.”
It’s paid for by an anonymous group of LGBT people and their allies.
It makes jabs at the conservative group Alliance Defending Freedom and its beliefs.
The ADF is the same group that helped defend two Christian artists who make wedding invitations, when they filed a lawsuit claiming a Phoenix law prohibiting discrimination infringed on their First Amendment rights related to their religious opposition to same-sex marriage
They were in the headlines again just last week. Their attorneys were at the Supreme Court defending a business’s right to fire a transgender employee.
The ADF’s national headquarters is based right here in Scottsdale.
“And they’ll make sure I can fire a woman for wearing slacks or a man with girlish hair because different is just plain wrong,” a satirical restaurateur said in a second video.
“So we really want to bring attention to the fact that they operate out of our own backyard. Most people aren’t aware of that. Most people don’t even know this group exists. But they have a huge budget, and they use it to attack the rights of LGBT people every day,” said Geoff Esposito, spokesman for Scottsdale Discriminates.
“They’re working to ensure everyone who doesn’t shoot straight not only ends up in the bunker, they could end up in jail,” the video said. “So thanks, ADF, for making sure intolerance in Scottsdale never fades.”
“I think people are allowed to have different beliefs on things like taxes, regulations. But the fundamental rights of individuals, LGBT people to exist, to have places to work to be able to feel safe in school, those aren’t things we can have a debate about. People deserve a right to be who they are,” said Esposito.
The ADF says the ads are false and defamatory.
“The anonymous group that’s making these claims are hiding in the shadows. Alliance Defending freedom engages in the debate in the public square. We sign our names to what we believe. They ought to do the same. They should be signing their names to their deceitful words and stop branding the people of Scottsdale as bigots,” said Kristen Waggoner, Alliance Defending Freedom senior vice president of the U.S. Legal Division.
When asked about the campaign bringing the City of Scottsdale into the mix, a spokesperson responded: “The City of Scottsdale serves everyone, as expressed in the ‘Scottsdale for All’ initiative, and does not discriminate with regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, sexual orientation, gender identity or disability. Scottsdale is a ‘Golden Rule City’ that embraces kindness, civility, empathy and respect. The City encourages those engaged in public debate to do so with those values.”
Read the complete written statement from the Alliance Defending freedom:
"The charges in this website are utterly false and defamatory. But even worse, the names and caricatures they use to depict Scottsdale residents are themselves hateful. It is impossible to understand how this organization intends to rally support of local residents by insulting and lying about them.
"Their website marks the start of a new anonymous smear campaign by activists ashamed to identify themselves. It was apparently developed by a partisan lobbying shop that sells its influence services.
"Alliance Defending Freedom is, in fact, the world’s largest legal organization committed to protecting religious freedom, free speech, and the sanctity of life. ADF has defended the rights of Catholics, Protestants, Jews, Muslims, Mormons, Jehovah’s Witnesses, and people of no faith. We’ve won free speech victories on college campuses protecting students of varied religious faiths, as well as libertarian, conservative, pro-life, pro-conservationist, and LGBT students.
"ADF is one of the nation’s most respected and successful United States Supreme Court advocates. ADF has played roles in 54 Supreme Court victories. Since 2011, ADF has represented parties in nine victories at the Supreme Court.
"ADF stands up, in court, and defends our clients in public, under our own names. We work within the rule of law, not by smearing innuendo under cover of anonymity. If an activist group wants to take us on, they can start by signing their names to their deceit." - Alliance Defending Freedom senior counsel and VP of US Advocacy Jeremy Tedesco.