Every year, Colorado state employees have the opportunity to make charitable donations through the Colorado Combined Campaign (CCC). Last year this workplace giving program raised $945,000 for nearly 700 different non-profit groups.
How did this group get approved? According to the CCC, most charities participate as part of a federation of similar groups. The CCC Advisory Committee then vets the federations.
State employees may designate their donations to one or more charities or groups of charities known as federations. An Advisory Committee, made up of representatives of most state agencies, sets and enforces campaign guidelines, called bylaws. The advisory committee reviews the 25 federations who sponsor the more than 600 charities in the campaign to determine if they are fiscally responsible and provide the services they say they do.
As part of the vetting process that the CCC conducts, applicant groups are required to have a “non-discrimination policy protecting, at minimum, the classes listed in the CCC bylaws: “race, color, religion, national origin, disability, age, gender and sexual orientation applicable to persons served by the organization.”
ADF signed a document affirming it has such a policy. An email sent to ADF Vice President Jeremy Tedesco requesting a copy of the policy and some clarification as to its scope was not returned.
Having an internal nondiscrimination policy that covers sexual orientation would seem to conflict with the foundational beliefs of Alliance Defending Freedom. For example, ADF requires job applicants to agree to abide by a Statement of Faith that reads in part:
We believe God designed marriage as a unique conjugal relationship joining one man and one woman in a single, exclusive, life-long union. God intends sexual intimacy to only occur between a man and a woman joined in marriage.
We believe all forms of sexual immorality (including adultery, fornication, homosexual behavior, polygamy, polyandry, bestiality, incest, pornography, and acting upon any disagreement with one’s biological sex) are sinful and offensive to God.
Before reviewing currently open positions, please read our “Statement of Faith and Guiding Principles” and indicate your acceptance and agreement of the principles contained therein.
During working and non-working hours, Alliance Defending Freedom Team Members, as part of their duties as Team Members, shall: … refrain from statements and conduct that detracts from the biblical standards taught and supported by Alliance Defending Freedom; … and (iv) abide by the practices and policies of Alliance Defending Freedom, including without limitation, those that pertain to corporate religious activities, beliefs, and practices.
Beyond ADF’s “beliefs,” the group’s policy work includes actively opposing nondiscrimination laws that include sexual orientation. In 2016 ADF filed a lawsuit seeking to overturn Colorado’s law protecting LGBT people from discrimination. ADF argues that “these laws create discrimination against people whose religious beliefs will not allow them to participate in, or promote, a same-sex union….[these laws] are not needed to protect against discrimination.” It also asserts that “One of the biggest threats to religious freedom in Western nations comes from the so-called nondiscrimination laws.”
Furthermore the group has advocated for the criminalization of homosexuality, both in the U.S. and internationally. It has also linked homosexuality to pedophilia. For these and other reasons the Southern Poverty Law Center designates ADF an anti-LGBT hate group.
Reached for comment CCC Advisory Committee chair Doug Platt said, “We don’t editorialize as to what any group’s policy goals are. The position of the CCC is to allow employees a choice to donate funds if they so choose, provided the organization meets certain criteria.”
By all accounts ADF meets the CCC’s criteria- which include being a registered nonprofit with 501c3 (tax-deductible status) from the IRS and providing a signed statement affirming that the group has a nondiscrimination policy.
All nonprofits wishing to participate in the CCC giving campaign must apply every year, via their associated “umbrella federation.” Alliance Defending Freedom is part of the “Neighbor to Nation” federation, which includes many other faith-based charities, including Focus On The Family and Christian Legal Services. It is unclear whether the Neighbor to Nation umbrella federation has applied to join CCC’s 2019 campaign. The application deadline is February 15.