Alliance Defending Freedom is an alliance-building legal organization that advocates for the right of people to freely live out their faith. Over the past 19 years, Alliance Defending Freedom has built alliances with thousands of Christian attorneys and hundreds of like-minded organizations to keep the door open for the spread of the Gospel. Together, we work tirelessly to accomplish what none of us can do alone: protect and defend YOUR religious freedom.

For Faith. For Justice.
The enduring mission of Alliance Defending Freedom is to gain justice for those whose faith has been unconstitutionally denied in the areas of religious liberty, the sanctity of life, and marriage and family.



Alliance Defending Freedom

Alan E. Sears


By God’s amazing grace, an exciting new chapter in the 19-year history of this alliance-building legal ministry is underway! After prayerful deliberations and much research, we changed our name last year from Alliance Defense Fund to Alliance Defending Freedom.

We pray this change will:

  • open thousands of new doors for Alliance Defending Freedom
  • strengthen our efforts
  • attract additional Allied Ministry Friends
  • make us even more effective at defending your religious liberty, the sanctity of life, and marriage and family

We also pray this will allow us to do things this ministry has never done before — for the glory of God, and the eternal salvation of more and more people.

Alliance Defending Freedom and our hundreds of allies are continuing the crucial work envisioned by ministry leaders who launched this legal ministry in 1994. Our Founders saw the critical need to protect religious freedom from repeated attacks by the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and its allies. Thanks to the generous support of our Allied Ministry Friends, we’re winning nearly 80 percent of our court battles. With continued support, Alliance Defending Freedom and our Allied Attorneys will keep winning great victories to preserve the free exercise of religion.


Alan Sears
President, CEO, and General Counsel
Alliance Defending Freedom

1993 Free speech and religious freedoms ravaged

The Body of Christ in America was in big trouble. The American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) and its allies fought — many times unopposed — to crush religious expression. Without an effective battle plan, Christians were losing their history and heritage of religious freedom mostly by default.

Larry Burkett, Dr. James Dobson, Dr. Bill Bright, Marlin Maddoux, Dr. D. James Kennedy

January 31, 1994: ADF launches strike force for freedom

Christian leaders, alarmed by the legal attacks on religious freedom, launch Alliance Defense Fund with Alan Sears as president.


2 critical wins for religious liberty

1995 — ADF plays a critical role in two Supreme Court victories that set legal precedents for future victories. One affirms the right for organizations to not associate with groups with whom they disagree. The second faults universities for illegally denying funding to student activities by reason of their religious convictions.


Legal Academy established

1997 — First-ever ADF Legal Academy begins training Christian attorneys in constitutional law so they can provide pro bono/dedicated service to the Body of Christ.


Blackstone Legal Fellowship

2000 — The ADF Blackstone Legal Fellowship leadership development program trains some of the best and brightest Christian law students from across the nation.


Equal access to school property
for Christians

2001 — U.S. Supreme Court rules that middle schools must provide equal access to after-school Bible clubs to meet on school property, thanks to precedent set by ADF.




2003The Homosexual Agenda: Exposing the Principal Threat to Religious Freedom Today, by ADF President, CEO, and General Counsel Alan Sears and Vice President of Research Craig Osten is published.


Same-sex “marriage” challenged in
San Francisco

2004 — ADF attorneys successfully challenge the illegal actions of then-San Francisco Mayor Gavin Newsom when he directs the city and county clerk to issue “marriage” licenses to same-sex couples in defiance of state law.


The ACLU vs.


2005The ACLU vs. America, by ADF President, CEO, and General Counsel Alan Sears and Vice President of Research Craig Osten is published.


U.S. Supreme Court affirms religious freedoms

2006 — In less than a month, the U.S. Supreme Court issues unanimous decisions affirming religious freedom in four ADF-backed cases.


Victory in
“partial-birth abortion” case

2007 — The U.S. Supreme Court upholds the federal ban on so-called “partial-birth abortions” in the ADF-backed case, Gonzales v. Carhart.




2008 — ADF launches its new magazine, Truth & Triumph.


ADF challenges
ACLU in school

2011 — The U.S. Supreme Court affirms in ACSTO v. Winn, the right for parents to choose the best educational option for their children through an Arizona tuition tax credit program. This includes provision of scholarship funds to private Christian schools. The ACLU loses the right to use its “offended taxpayer” strategy to challenge such programs.


religious liberty

2012 — ADF opens its European office in Vienna, Austria.

Alliance Defending Freedom

From today forward Advancing For Faith . . . For Justice

Together, we can fight for faith and justice as we face significant attacks on religious freedom, such as the ObamaCare abortion pill mandate which forces Christian ministries, colleges, and businesses to purchase insurance coverage that funds the destruction of human life.


Send a gift of support

Help us continue to impact religious liberty worldwide. Ensure that your right to freely live out your faith is protected today and for years to come.

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