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Free Speech

Jack Phillips


Free Speech

A marketplace of diverse ideas is essential to a free society. Protecting the fundamental right to free speech ensures that all have the liberty to engage in civil discourse and pursue truth without fear of government punishment or retaliation.

ADF believes that people should be free to express their views regardless of whether the government agrees with them. Free speech is a right that belongs to everyone. Government censorship, compelled speech, and “hate speech” laws all undermine free speech and should be opposed.

Free speech is for everyone

The First Amendment protects the right of all Americans to express their beliefs free from government coercion and censorship.

What Happens When Speech Gets Policed? We Don’t Have to Guess.

Lorie Smith

How do we defend your rights?

ADF stands for free speech wherever it’s under threat—from schools and the workplace to the corporate boardroom and online.

We hold public schools and universities accountable. Students and educators at public institutions should be free to voice their opinions without fear of punishment.

We defend every American’s right to live and speak in accordance with their conscience. Whether the subject is marriage, pronouns, or abortion, no one should be compelled to express a message that violates their deeply held beliefs.

We oppose censorship. The answer to speech we disagree with is not censorship but more speech. From pro-life sidewalk counselors to college students to small business owners, no American should be silenced for their beliefs.

Men Having Conversation

ADF engages in strategic litigation, legislation, and public advocacy to ensure we can all “speak the truth in love” to everyone we meet, just as the Apostle Paul instructs us in Ephesians 4:15.

We created the Center for Academic Freedom to ensure free speech is protected on campus. We’ve achieved over 400 victories opposing speech codes, censorship zones, and vague policies that allow school officials to discriminate based on viewpoint.

We are tackling corporate cancel culture. ADF’s Viewpoint Diversity Score and annual Business Index address the growing threat to free speech from major American corporations and banks.

We’ve won seven U.S. Supreme Court victories protecting free speech for clients as diverse as a pastor, a graphic artist, a network of pregnancy centers, and others.

Legal Cases

Lorie Smith

303 Creative v. Elenis

In a landmark ruling, the Supreme Court affirmed the right of all Americans to speak freely without fear of government punishment. ADF defended graphic artist Lorie Smith from being forced to express messages that violated her religious beliefs about marriage.

Young Boy

L.M. v. Town of Middleborough

Liam Morrison was censored by his school for wearing a shirt with the message, “There are only two genders.” ADF is representing Liam because students don’t forfeit their free speech when they walk into the school building.

Jessica Bates

NIFLA v. Clark

ADF is representing pro-life pregnancy centers challenging a Vermont law that censors them and restricts their ability to provide information, counseling, and other services to vulnerable women in need.

Supreme Court

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Learn More About Free Speech

Lorie Smith and Kristen Waggoner

What Is the Freedom of Speech?

America’s Founding Fathers understood that the freedom of speech protects much more than just our right to talk to each other. The First Amendment ensures that everyone can express what they believe—and be free not to say things they disagree with—without being punished by the government.


Censorship Is Incompatible with a Free Society

Censorship infringes on the right of every person to live and speak the truth. A robust marketplace of ideas is essential to determining good ideas from bad ones. When more people speak up for the truth, false and worthless statements can be recognized for what they are.

Jack Phillips

The Dangers of Compelled Speech

Compelling people to express messages against their most deeply held beliefs violates individual rights and undermines the common good. A free society depends on ordinary citizens having the freedom to choose what to say as well as what not to say.