The letter, signed by ADF CEO Michael Farris, focuses its attack on the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) who first listed ADF as a hate group in 2016 due to the group’s record of advocating for the recriminalization of homosexuality in the U.S. and criminalization abroad.
ADF is also known as the legal powerhouse behind Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission, a case that — under the banner of “religious liberty” — seeks to create a broad legal exemption for businesses to deny goods and services to LGBT people.
While ADF insisted on their mainstream credentials in their appeal to Amazon, one hyperlinked citation in their letter leads to the website of Steve Sailer, a longtime contributor to the white nationalist hub VDARE and The Unz Review, both of which have published work by antisemitic writers and other assorted extremists.
Citing Sailer, who once wrote that African Americans “possess poorer native judgment than members of better-educated groups. Thus, they need stricter moral guidance from society,” should be embarrassing enough for ADF. However, Sailer has also endeavored to investigate homosexuality — ADF’s true main concern —with the help of researchers with ugly records.
In the late 1990s and through the 2000s, Sailer founded and ran a “think tank” called the Human Biodiversity Institute (HBI). The SPLC reported on HBI in 2003:
This exclusive group of academics, race scientists and right-wing journalists — along with a reported handful of liberals — exchanges thoughts about "differences in race, sex and sexual orientation" for a chilling purpose: promoting and studying "artificial [genetic] selection.
Members included the late president of the eugenics-promoting Pioneer Fund, Jean-Phillippe Rushton, co-author of The Bell Curve Charles Murray, antisemitic ex-academic Kevin MacDonald and Gregory Cochran, among others.
Cochran, a physicist by training and once a close collaborator with another proponent of scientific racism, has advanced the “gay germ” hypothesis of homosexuality which Sailer found interesting and plausible enough to write about multiple times. As Sailer wrote in a 2003 VDARE post titled “Gay Gene Or Gay Germ?”:
Or, as Cochran suggests, an infectious disease itself could cause homosexuality. It's probably not a venereal germ, but maybe an intestinal or respiratory germ. If it spreads like the flu, and if it needs to strike at a particular stage of development before or shortly after birth, then more male homosexuals might be born in one season than another, just as more schizophrenics are born in late winter and in early spring, especially in cities with cold winters. This should be easily testable.
It's radically unfashionable to call homosexuality a disease. But you can't think rigorously about the gay gene theory without drawing straightforward analogies to genetic diseases. Both reduce the number of descendents (sic), which is the number that counts in evolution.
While in the same VDARE post Sailer wrote “many have reacted with horror to Cochran's theory because it implies that homosexuality might be preventable” he glibly reasoned that “whether that decision would be good or bad is a very personal matter—exactly the sort of dispute that VDARE.COM heroically avoids.”
Clearly, ADF’s history maligning the LGBT community and seeking to erect legal barriers to prevent LGBT people from accessing their rights is not something Amazon wants to support. In pleading their case, ADF might want to avoid invoking the authority of someone like Sailer.