On Fox News, ADF's Kristen Waggoner claims protecting LGBTQ people from discrimination is bad for business
More than 160 leading businesses support federal nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ people, and the vast majority of Fortune 500 companies have inclusive policies
Fox News anchor Shannon Bream, part of the network’s so-called “news” team, hosted lawyer Kristen Waggoner from extreme anti-LGBTQ group Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) to discuss a recent court ruling in its favor and to spread misinformation that policies protecting LGBTQ people from discrimination are bad for business. This was Waggoner's third appearance on a Fox News program this week, including a Fox News radio segment.
On September 16, the Arizona Supreme Court narrowly ruled that ADF client and calligraphy business Brush & Nib Studio is allowed to decline to create wedding invitations for same-sex couples based on its owners’ religious beliefs. ADF and its allies have represented several other wedding businesses seeking to deny services to LGBTQ people. In this case, ADF’s clients preemptively sued for the right to discriminate without having been approached by a same-sex couple for services.
ADF senior vice president Waggoner frequents Fox News to discuss her group’s anti-LGBTQ cases; in fact, she appeared earlier this week on Fox News’ Fox & Friends and on Fox News Radio’s The Todd Starnes Show to discuss the Brush & Nib Studio ruling. A Media Matters analysis has found that ADF lawyers and clients have appeared on Fox nine times in 2019, and since June 2018, Bream has interviewed them in seven different segments.
During her September 19 appearance on Bream’s show, Waggoner implied that LGBTQ-inclusive nondiscrimination policies, like the one Brush & Nib sued over in Phoenix, Arizona, are bad for business, saying, “The statistics tell us, research tells us that nine out of the 10 best states for business in the United States don't have these laws, and 12 of the 13 worst states do.”
While Waggoner did not provide her data source, three of Forbes' 2018 top 10 states for business -- Colorado, Washington, and Minnesota -- have full nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ people that cover sexual orientation and gender identity. Additionally, over 160 leading businesses have endorsed the Equality Act; 91% of Fortune 500 companies have policies that “prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation,” and 83% have policies that include gender identity. Waggoner’s claim closely resembles arguments that ADF ally and extreme anti-LGBTQ group Family Research Council has made against the Equality Act, which would protect LGBTQ people from discrimination at the federal level.