Anti-Gay Group’s Attorney Fired after Searching for Men on Facebook

The American Center for Law & Justice, created by Pat Robertson to be the religious right’s answer to the ACLU, is at the forefront of anti-gay legal work both in the U.S. and abroad as part of its broad socially conservative agenda. The group is led by Jay Sekulow, who has been Mitt Romney’s foremost champion among conservative evangelicals. So it’s not surprising that the ACLJ has moved quickly to distance itself from a longtime attorney who has been publicly accused of secretly carrying on relationships with young men.

MetroWeekly, an LGBT news magazine in Washington, D.C., reported this week that ACLJ officials had confirmed that staff attorney James Henderson, a married father of eight, had been fired recently after a blog reported that he is gay. Henderson has also reportedly been an adjunct professor at Regent University. MetroWeekly notes that the ACLJ has scrubbed all traces of Henderson’s bio and writings from its website, though his name continues to appear on numerous legal documents.

The report was based in part on voluminous information gathered by two bloggers, which included posts from two Facebook accounts, Henderson’s and one that appears to be an alias he used to communicate with young men, some of whom may have been younger than 18, who he apparently provided with marijuana and alcohol. According to the Patriot-Ombudsman blog, Henderson appeared to have been on an emotional roller coaster for much of the year, posting radically anti-Obama right-wing propaganda even as his life was beginning to crash down around him.

Henderson deflected MetroWeekly’s inquiries to a civil rights employment attorney he’s hired—which led the American Family Association’s Bryan Fischer to tweet, “ACLJ situation: why ENDA bad legislation. Must be able to have attorneys who represent their values.”

Peter Montgomery, an associate editor for Religion Dispatches, is a Senior Fellow at People For the American Way Foundation where he was on staff for 15 years. Before that he was associate director of grassroots lobbying for Common Cause and wrote for Common Cause Magazine, an award-winning journal featuring investigative reporting about the federal government.