Agriculture Commissioner Nikki Fried (D-Florida) recently described Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) as a "hate group" and pointed to information from Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) that says as much.
ADF has been involved in a legal dispute with Fried as well as the Biden administration. At issue are policies that schools adhere to for reinterpretation of the word "sex" in Title IX to include sexual orientation and gender identify. Earlier this week, federal and state officials granted a Christian academy in Florida a religious exemption from a change in Title IX that would have kept the school's students from the benefits of the National School Lunch Program. (See earlier story)
Fried's office, however, claims it never denied the school's application or threatened to withhold their school lunch funds – and that ADF is mistakenly taking credit for her office's decision to allow the school to move forward with the lunch program.
"Every single complaint made by the Alliance Defending Freedom hate group and Tallahassee Republicans was intended to push a false narrative and the hate group's agenda – it was never about a true concern for our students or their access to meals," said the commissioner.
ADF attorney Erica Steinmiller-Perdomo argues ADF is not a hate group, as Fried accuses.
"ADF is one of the nation's most respected and successful U.S. Supreme Court advocates," she tells AFN. "We work to preserve fundamental freedom of speech and religion for all Americans."
She continued: "This label of ADF by the SPLC as a 'hate group' is simply founded in the fact that we oppose their extreme ideological agenda. But the SPLC has been completely discredited – and these labels have been found to be completely politically motivated and biased."
Commissioner Fried, who is currently running for governor in Florida, is the only Democrat in the state's cabinet. AFN sought comment from her office as well as her campaign and received no response.
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