MADISON, Wis. — While being paid by Wisconsin taxpayers to be a neutral arbiter of the law as a judge, state Supreme Court candidate Brian Hagedorn was also getting paid by the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), a hate group that seeks to use the courts advance their discriminatory agenda. In response to media inquiries, Hagedorn’s campaign alleged the payments he received were for speeches he gave to the group. One Wisconsin Now today demanded Hagedorn turn over any records, including video, audio, transcripts or other records of his remarks for which he was compensated by the ADF.
“Brian Hagedorn owes us straight answers about what he said in his speeches to a hate group,” said One Wisconsin Now Research Director Joanna Beilman-Dulin. “They thought it was worth it to pay him for his remarks and the people of Wisconsin deserve to know why and deserve to know now.”
As reported by the media, based on information uncovered by One Wisconsin Now, between 2015 and 2018 State Supreme Court Candidate Brian Hagedorn took over $3,000 in payments and gifts from an organization that advocates for and engages in litigation to advance an extreme, anti-LGBTQ agenda. Hagedorn was appointed to a judicial seat by former Gov. Scott Walker in 2015 after having served as legal counsel in Walker’s administration since 2011.
The ADF is deemed to be a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. In making the designation, they cite the ADF’s support for, “the recriminalization of homosexuality in the U.S. and criminalization abroad” and note the group “has defended state-sanctioned sterilization of trans people abroad; has linked homosexuality to pedophilia and claims that a “homosexual agenda” will destroy Christianity and society. ADF also works to develop “religious liberty” legislation and case law that will allow the denial of goods and services to LGBT people on the basis of religion.”
Beilman-Dulin noted Hagedorn’s association with ADF is longstanding. During law school, Hagedorn interned with the Alliance Defense Fund (now called the Alliance Defending Freedom) and described the group as “formed to fight the culture wars” in his own writings.
He also lent a helping hand when he was working for former Gov. Scott Walker and ADF was litigating a case in Wisconsin in which they sought to take away rights for same sex couples, like allowing partners hospital visitation. As Walker’s legal counsel Hagedorn took over the case after the Governor fired the attorney defending the state domestic partnership registry. In May 2011, Hagedorn petitioned the court for Walker to withdraw from the case, as they agreed with ADF’s legal analysis and conclusion that the domestic partnership registry violated the state constitution.
She concluded, “On the campaign trail Brian Hagedorn is asking us to trust him that, this time, he’ll keep his homophobia to himself. Yet he refuses to tell us what he said in his speeches at hate group conferences.”