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Kevin Corlew: Legal Fellow With Group Known for "Sharp Anti-Gay Bigotry"

Kevin Corlew with Tim Jones, fellow extremist

Kevin Corlew, attorney and candidate for the 14th House District, has troubling ties to the conservative legal group the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF). According to his LinkedIn profile, Corlew attended the Blackstone Legal Fellowship training program sponsored by the ADF in 2003. The program trains future lawyers in how to fight back against laws they believe violate religious freedom. The ADF requires them to retain a lifelong relationship with the group in exchange for their help furthering their careers.

The Southern Poverty Law Center (SLPC) has called out the ADF’s “sharp anti-gay bigotry." According to a SLPC report, the ADF works domestically and abroad to criminalize sodomy and support laws that allow discrimination based on sexual orientation. They said the repeal of anti-sodomy laws in Texas would be "an affront to our Constitution, to our nation’s heritage and history, and to God’s Word." The group helped write Arizona’s law that would have allowed business owners to discriminate against customers based on their sexual orientation. Their lawyer described business owners who discriminated against gay customers as "modern day heroes, like Rosa Parks.

Here's more on the ADF, via

Welcome to the world of the Blackstone Legal Fellowship, an annual program established in 2000 by the Alliance Defending Freedom, an Arizona-based nonprofit that is swiftly emerging as a major behind-the-scenes player in many of the nation’s most controversial legal cases involving reproductive rights, sexual justice, and a vast range of other moral and social disputes.

“[T]he Blackstone Fellowship inspires a distinctly Christian worldview in every area of law, and particularly in the areas of public policy and religious liberty,” states the Alliance’s public tax filing. “With this ongoing program, it’s [the Alliance’s] goal to train a new generation of lawyers who will rise to positions of influence and leadership as legal scholars, litigators, judges—perhaps even Supreme Court Justices—who will work to ensure that justice is carried out in America’s courtrooms.”

While participants hail from various denominations, they all commit to using their legal careers to “reorder society” according to a “christendomic” worldview, in which there is no separation between church and state.

“The Blackstone Legal Fellowship renewed my conviction that working for cultural change is not polishing brass on a sinking ship,” wrote Alana Hake on the Blackstone website. “Victories in the area of pro-life, religious liberty, and family values not only have the potential to preserve individuals’ lives and enable them to hear of salvation, but also to glorify God as society is reordered bit by bit according to His design.”

That means no abortion rights, no marriage equality, and a view of the First Amendment so radical and expansive that merely asserting a religious objection to state or federal laws—be they health insurance laws, or anti-discrimination statutes—would permit individuals to be exempt.

From what we can tell, Corlew has lived up to his end of the bargain. In 2010, he served as part of their legal team in a case that defended a campaign that sought to overturn Washington’s law expanding domestic partnerships to same-sex couples. 

Note: the ADF changed its "ministry name" from Alliance Defense Fund to Alliance Defending Freedom after this brief was filed. 

The extremism doesn't stop there. This summer, he praised the Supreme Court’s Burwell v. Hobby Lobby decision that will allow bosses to deny birth control coverage for their employees. 

In Missouri, you can be fired simply for being gay. If elected, Corlew can be expected to stand with his radical friends at the ADF to fight against legislation like the Missouri Nondiscrimination Act, instead of with the majority of Missourians who support equal protections for their friends and neighbors. Missourians deserve a better legislature, one without extremists like Kevin Corlew.