Earlier this week, I had the pleasure of attending the Alliance Defending Freedom’s Strategic Partners Conference in Washington, D.C. This conference is always one of the highlights of my yearly travel schedule. It’s a timely and intellectually challenging look at the cases and policies winding their way through our nation’s courts, policies that will eventually wind their way into our schools, our churches and even our homes.
For those who don’t know, the Alliance Defending Freedom, or ADF for short, is a Christian legal powerhouse made up of over 3,000 allied attorneys, with nearly 40 wins at the U.S. Supreme Court. Even though the Montana Family Foundation has its own legal counsel, we work closely with ADF on both the state and federal levels.
This year’s conference touched on cases dealing with abortion, religious freedom, parental rights, same-sex marriage and transgender use of restrooms and locker rooms, all areas being actively litigated in courts across the U.S.
One of the highlights for me, personally, came when former Attorney General Jeff Sessions mentioned Montana and described why the U.S. Attorney filed an amicus brief in support of our Espinoza case on school choice. He said the religious discrimination being promoted by the Montana Department of Revenue cannot be allowed to go unchallenged. He also said the time is right to challenge the unconstitutional Blaine Amendments that are imbedded in state constitutions, including the Montana Constitution.
Another powerful speaker at the conference was Walt Heyer, an 83-year-old man who lived for years as a woman, including going through irreversible surgeries that left him physically and emotionally devastated. Finally, through faith in Christ, Walt sought the help he needed to rid himself of the confusion that had plagued him for decades. He’s gone on to help others, and he fights tirelessly against state laws that make it a crime to counsel someone with gender dysphoria or unwanted same-sex attraction.
Just this week, he wrote a powerful article in The Federalist describing a Texas father who was devastated because he’s been ordered by the court to lay out boy’s and girl’s clothing for his six-year-old son every day before school. The boy’s parents are divorced and the boy’s mother, a pediatrician, is convinced that the boy is really a girl. The boy wears girl’s clothing at the mother’s house, but refuses to wear girl’s clothing at the father’s house. Now, the mother wants the court to force the father to join her in administering hormone blockers to aid her son’s transition to a girl. It’s a tragic story that goes on far too often in our current age of sexual activism. You can read this story at thefederalist.com.
As you can imagine, the big topic at this year’s conference was the appointment of Justice Kavanaugh to the U.S. Supreme Court and what that means for cases currently in the pipeline. Having a strict constructionist majority on the Court for the first time in decades certainly changes the equation, especially for the long line of cases involving far-left public policy coming out of states like California. For the first time in years, we feel that this persistent slouching toward Gomorrah can be stopped.
I came away excited, affirmed in my faith and ready to speak truth to power in our courts and legislature, which is a good thing, because the start of the 66th Session of the Montana Legislature is just a month away.