The Republican U.S. Senate primary battle is drawing interest not only from across the state but even across the country. Millions of dollars have flowed into the race from various sources, both from within and outside the state.

American Family Association (AFA) Action, a Christian political group that has taken conservative Christian positions opposing abortion and gay marriage, has criticized Senate candidate Katie Boyd Britt for accepting $5,800 from Daniel Loeb, a billionaire New York hedge fund manager who has taken a number of pro-LGBTQ positions over the years.

Rob Chambers is the vice president of AFA Action. Chambers spoke with 1819 News regarding his concerns about Loeb’s involvement in the Alabama Republican primary as well as his concerns about Britt.

Chambers said Britt, “as President and CEO of the Business Council of Alabama and having served on Governor Ivey’s Coronavirus Task Force - both the Business Council of Alabama and Gov. Ivey opposed House Bill 31 creating an employee religious exemption from the Biden Administration's vaccine mandate. In 2017, BCA opposed the bathroom bill. Britt also works for Butler Snow law firm that received the AT&T Diversity Award.”

The Britt campaign acknowledged receiving the $5,800 contribution.

"Katie is proud that an incredible 85% of her funds have come from Alabamians,” the Britt campaign said in a statement. “Given that thousands of people have contributed to the campaign, there are bound to be people with a wide range of beliefs on a host of issues. Katie makes it crystal clear on the campaign trail every day that she will fight tirelessly for Alabama's Christian conservative values."

Loeb is a supporter of the American Unity Fund, a 501(c)(4) nonprofit organization whose goal is to build more Republican support for LGBTQ rights. The American Unity Fund has not made an endorsement in the Alabama Senate race.

“Our top priority in the next Congress is to pass the Fairness For All Act, and these nine endorsed candidates will be crucial in that process,” said Tyler Deaton, Senior Advisor for American Unity Fund. “Fairness for All is an important and balanced legislative solution that advances LGBTQ civil rights nationwide and preserves our nation's commitment to religious freedom. When signed into law, it will represent the largest ever expansion of LGBTQ rights, the largest expansion of civil rights since 1964, and the largest expansion of religious freedom since the Religious Freedom Restoration Act in 1993.”

Loeb submitted an amicus brief to the Supreme Court in favor of gay marriage. He has donated to the Human Rights Campaign, a pro-LGBTQ activist group that has been active in Alabama and other states. In 2015, Loeb, Paul Singer and Tim Gill helped fund Freedom For All Americans to promote LGBT issues in states and local communities in the United States.

According to its website, Freedom For All Americans states, “No one should be treated unfairly because of who they are or who they love – but in 29 states, LGBTQ Americans are not fully and explicitly protected from discrimination. Freedom for All Americans is the national campaign to secure comprehensive nondiscrimination protections in employment, housing, and public accommodations for all LGBTQ Americans.

“To achieve this goal, we’re building bipartisan momentum in legislatures, in courts of law, and in the court of public opinion. We’re familiarizing the public with lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people and who they are, and we’re elevating the many unexpected voices that support equal treatment. We are seizing every opportunity to further conversations, showcase urgency and compel lawmakers to take action and right this wrong.”

Freedom For All Americans states is promoting the Equality Act, which would ban all discrimination of LGBTQ persons. Christian churches, businesses and schools maintain that they should have the freedom to choose not to hire persons that do not share their Christian worldviews, including a belief in traditional marriage and gender roles.

Loeb has contributed to several charities, including Chairing the Success Academies, the Ronald M. Loeb Center for Alzheimer's Disease and the Human Rights Campaign Global Initiative. He is a trustee of the United States Olympic Committee, a trustee of the Museum of Contemporary Art in Los Angeles, a trustee for StudentsFirstNY and a trustee of Mount Sinai Hospital.

Loeb is also a member of the Council on Foreign Relations.

Britt is an attorney, wife, mother, former Senate staffer, former lobbyist, former President and CEO of the Business Council of Alabama and a native of Enterprise.

Senate candidate Mike Durant has also come under fire for his acceptance of political support from people who had previous connections to the anti-Trump Lincoln Project.

Lillie Boddie, Britt, Mo Brooks, Karla DuPriest, Durant, and Jake Schafer are all running in the Republican primary for Senate.

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