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Arizona’s ‘In God We Trust’ Specialty Plates Are Funding an Anti-LGBT Hate Group

Dedicated vehicle license plates can be found all across the country, be it a Red Wings themed plate for Michigan drivers or an organ donor awareness plate in New Jersey. For a little more than the standard state license plate, drivers can make a meaningful donation toward a cause they support and spread the word while on the road.

Not all charity plates are the same, though. In Arizona, attention has recently been drawn to one state dedicated plate which includes the phrase, “In God We Trust.” While this might seem innocuous, being the official motto of the United States for more than 60 years, many Arizona drivers are likely unaware of the purpose behind these dedicated plates. According to the Arizona’s Department of Transportation website, they are meant to defend the First Amendment and the “heritage of this state and nation” — but that isn’t the whole truth.

A portion of the funds go toward the Scottsdale-based group called the Alliance Defending Freedom — an organization considered a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. The group has, since at least 2000 (when it was known as the Alliance Defense Fund until 2012) continually spread rhetoric about a supposed “homosexual agenda” which aims to destroy Christianity and the traditional family unit both in the United States and around the world.

The group doesn’t merely print pamphlets, though. For nearly two decades, the Alliance Defending Freedom has proactively hired lawyers and backed sympathetic politicians to fight against LGBT civil rights progress. Among its many efforts, perhaps the ADF’s most profound victory came when the U.S. Supreme Court ruling in Dale v. Boy Scouts of America in 2000, in which an assistant Scoutmaster was dismissed for being gay, ultimately favored the Boy Scouts. A significant amount of legal support for the Boy Scouts was provided by the ADF.

The Alliance Defending Freedom has also proactively fought against adoption by homosexual couples, the legalization of gay marriage, trans civil rights progress and has taken its efforts abroad, such as in India, to keep homosexuality illegal.

Of the $25 Arizona motorists spend on their “In God We Trust” plates, $17 goes to the Alliance Defending Freedom. Incredibly, this fact — both where the money goes and who it goes to — only became public knowledge after a recent inquiry by State Sen. Juan Mendez at the urging of the Secular Coalition of Arizona. Since 2014, the ADF has gotten over $900,000 from plate purchases, however they have been sold since 2008.

Plate sales began in 2008 after a state law was passed the same year. That law, however, did not state that the ADF would be receiving money from sales of the plates.

Though the plates are advertised as supporting the First Amendment, ironically, their sale by the Arizona Department of Transportation is a blatant violation of the U.S. Constitution. Given the utter lack of transparency behind the use of the plate fees, it’s clear this was known full well by those behind it.

This article was originally published on on February 14, 2019.

Writing about various things (mostly politics & social issues) for more than six years. Freelancer for hire.

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