An Arizona-based anti-LGBTQ legal advocacy organization has announced that it will, at least temporarily, stop pursuing its goal of having transgender women housed in all-male federal prisons.
The reason for the change of its tone, however, is more a matter of strategy than ideology.
The Alliance Defending Freedom, an organization that has been designated as an extremist hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, hopes that an upcoming Supreme Court ruling, which could essentially legalize anti-transgender discrimination, will prove to be an easier way to reach its goal.
In 2017 the alliance joined a lawsuit brought a year earlier by a group of cisgender women who were incarcerated at a federal prison in Forth Worth, Texas.
The women sued the U.S. Bureaus of Prisons to remove all transgender women incarcerated at that facility and transfer them to a male-only prison.
They claimed that they were being subjected to “cruel and unusual punishment” by being housed next to trans women, going so far as to call their claim a matter of “gender discrimination."
The following year, in a reversal of federal policy, the Trump administration announced that it would make it harder for transgender inmates to be housed according to their identified gender.
The change didn’t go far enough for the Alliance Defending Freedom, however, and the group continued its legal fight, hoping to move all trans women inmates in federal prisons to men’s facilities.
But now, since all the clients represented by the group have left the prison system, the organization decided to hold its efforts.
“We are no longer actively litigating,” Gary McCaleb, a recently-retired attorney with the group, told The Dallas Morning Friday.
“We’re also closely watching what the Supreme Court is going to do,” said McCaleb, referring to three cases involving discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity, which the justices are set to decide next year.
"We certainly would not give up the fight. We have a strong belief in what makes society thrive,” he added. “But I can’t predict what the next steps would be.”
According to the Dallas paper, the lawsuit remains active, even after the the ADF departure.