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ADF Celebrating 25 Years

25th Anniversary

Celebrating 25 Years Building Freedom's Future


To live and work consistently with your deeply held beliefs is a God-given freedom enshrined in the Constitution. But that freedom is threatened and needs protecting. For 25 years, Alliance Defending Freedom has pursued this calling—to be a voice for faith and freedom in the world.

Some said we were too late. Others said it was too big of a calling. But this little organization, prayerfully founded by dozens of major ministry leaders, quickly moved to the frontlines of the battle for religious freedom. And it has established itself as an influential and effective legal organization in the United States and around the world.



"From a one-person shop with meager funding came a ministry that stands today as a major advocate for life, liberty, conscience, and family across the globe. John 15:5. Only God could do this."

Alan Sears
ADF Founder



from 25 Years

  1. January 31, 1994

    Launch of Alliance Defending Freedom

    On January 31, 1994, Alliance Defending Freedom (formerly known as Alliance Defense Fund) is introduced to the nation at the National Religious Broadcasters Convention in Washington, D.C., with Alan Sears as President, CEO & General Counsel.

  2. 1995

    Funding a Supreme Court Victory

    ADF provides funding for Rosenberger v. Rector & Visitors, enabling a critical U.S. Supreme Court victory that led to numerous other First Amendment wins.

  3. 1997

    Establishing the ADF Legal Academy

    The 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.

  4. 2000

    Introducing Blackstone Legal Fellowship

    The Blackstone Legal Fellowship begins training some of the best and brightest Christian law students from across the nation.

  5. 2006

    ADF Center for Academic Freedom Formed

    Alliance Defending Freedom forms the Center for Academic Freedom (CAF), which has earned an almost 90 percent success rate in challenging violations of students' and faculty members' First Amendment rights on public university campuses

  6. 2007

    Fighting to Save a Life

    ADF goes to court to save the life of gravely injured Jesse Ramirez, who faced certain death after his food and water were illegally removed.

  7. 2008

    Defending Persecuted Christians in India and Worldwide

    As one of the thousands of victims of mob violence against Christians in eastern India, Chandra Digal receives justice for herself and the other victims as she takes a courageous stand with the help of ADF Allied Attorneys. These growing human rights abuses in India—and worldwide—highlight the need for a global defense of religious freedom.

  8. 2010

    Launch of ADF International

    Launched as a global partner of Alliance Defending Freedom, ADF International protects fundamental freedoms and promotes the inherent dignity of all people.

  9. 2012

    New Name, Same Mission

    Founded as Alliance Defense Fund, the organization changes its name to Alliance Defending Freedom to better highlight who we are—an alliance—with what we do—defend freedom.

  10. 2013

    Barronelle's Journey Begins

    Targeted by her state attorney general and the ACLU, the Washington floral artist quickly becomes an important figure in the fight for freedom of conscience nationwide.

  11. April 2014

    A Disappointing Denial

    The U.S. Supreme Court declines to hear the case of New Mexico photographer Elaine Huguenin, which leaves in place a judicial opinion declaring that the "price of citizenship" requires people of faith to violate their religious beliefs.

  12. May 2014

    Big Victory for Prayer

    In the case of Town of Greece v. Galloway, the U.S. Supreme Court rules that Americans are free to pray according to their own beliefs to open public meetings.

  13. June 26, 2014

    Setting a Winning Precedent for Life and Free Speech

    In the case of McCullen v. Coakley, the U.S. Supreme Court unanimously strikes down a Massachusetts law that created a 35-foot "buffer zone" restricting pro-life advocates from speaking with people entering abortion facilities.

  14. June 30, 2014

    Battling the Abortion Pill Mandate

    The U.S. Supreme Court rules against the Obama Administration's abortion pill mandate in favor of two family run businesses, Conestoga Wood Specialties and Hobby Lobby. This sets the stage for additional Supreme Court victories against the mandate—including another ADF case, Zubik v. Burwell (2016).

  15. October 2014

    Challenging Attacks on the Church

    Five Houston-area pastors are subpoenaed by the city to turn over speeches, writings, counseling notes, or sermons on gender identity, homosexuality, or mentioning the mayor. Public outcry over the treatment of the "Houston 5" increases awareness of growing attacks on the Church and leads to the eventual founding of the ADF Church Alliance (2017) to prepare churches for the legal threats ahead.

  16. June 2015

    Landmark Victory for Free Speech

    In the case of Reed v. Town of Gilbert, the U.S. Supreme Court rules 9-0 that the Town of Gilbert's sign code is facially unconstitutional and discriminates against the content of Good News Community Church's signs.

  17. January 2016

    Milestone: One Million Pro Bono Hours

    ADF Allied Attorneys report their one millionth pro bono hour to serve the Body of Christ and fight for religious freedom across the globe.

  18. January 2017

    New CEO Michael Farris

    ADF introduces Michael P. Farris as its new President, CEO, and General Counsel. Michael assumes this post as the second ADF CEO, following Alan Sears, who served 23 years as the founding CEO of ADF.

  19. June 2017

    Precedent-Setting Victory for Religious Freedom

    In the case of Trinity Lutheran Church of Columbia v. Comer, the U.S. Supreme Court rules that the government cannot exclude churches and other faith-based organizations from a secular government program simply because of their religious identity. The victory sets a broad precedent for religious freedom.

  20. September 2017

    UN Resolution on Genocide

    After nearly two years of ADF International advocacy, the United Nations Security Council unanimously adopts a resolution supporting Iraq in prosecuting members of ISIS/Daesh for crimes committed against religious minorities in the region by establishing an investigative team to collect and preserve evidence.

  21. 2018

    Milestone: 400th Win for the ADF Center for Academic Freedom

    The ADF Center for Academic Freedom celebrates its 400th victory for freedom since its founding in 2006, changing hundreds of American public university campuses for the better.

  22. June 4, 2018

    Victory for Jack!

    After nearly six years of litigation, the U.S. Supreme Court rules 7-2 in favor of Colorado cake artist Jack Phillips, who declined to design a custom wedding cake celebrating a same-sex marriage.

  23. June 26, 2018

    Free Speech Win for Pro-Life Pregnancy Centers

    In the case of NIFLA v. Becerra, the U.S. Supreme Court rules 5-4 in favor of free speech, stopping a California law that forced pro-life pregnancy centers to advertise for abortion.

  24. August 2018

    Milestone: 2,000 Law Students Trained

    Blackstone Legal Fellowship surpasses 2,000 Christian law students trained to make a lasting impact on the culture and the legal landscape.

  25. August 2018

    Chief Cochran Gets Justice

    After a federal district court struck down a City of Atlanta speech policy that cost former Atlanta Fire Chief Kelvin Cochran his job, the city agrees to pay Chief Cochran a $1.2 million settlement, recognizing that he had suffered unconstitutional harm when he was fired for his faith.

Committed to Victory

"At ADF, there are opportunities for real, generational victories. And if we stand up, speak up, and show up, I believe that we can keep the doors open for the Gospel today—and for future generations."

Michael Farris
ADF President, CEO & General Counsel

Winning Record

When Alan Sears was approached to lead ADF, he wanted to make sure of one thing: Alliance Defending Freedom would be committed to winning. And within only a few short weeks of its launch, ADF was funding a case at the U.S. Supreme Court and captured the first victory of many for religious freedom. True to this commitment . . .

Alliance Defending Freedom is dedicated to victory.

Winning nearly 80% of all cases.
Playing a role in 56 victories at the United States Supreme Court.
Advocating in hundreds of international legal matters affecting religious freedom.