Moms for Liberty (M4L) is an anti-government and anti-LGBTQ+ activist organization classified as a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center. The group is based in Brevard County, Florida, with chapters throughout the United States. They oppose public schools supporting diversity, teaching Black and LGBTQ+ history, and school safety measures such as requiring masks during COVID-19 outbreaks. To achieve these goals, the group advocates for the dissolution of the Department of Education and the shutdown of public libraries and attempts to replace school officials with sympathetic individuals.
The organization has self-reported 260 local chapters in 43 states, many of which have supported candidates in local elections with the intent of pushing those members towards book bans and restrictions on diverse materials in public schools. In 2022, Moms for Liberty successfully backed 275 candidates, of which 198 were first-time runners, many of who did not have children attending schools in the district they represent. Their members have been accused of harassing and threatening school board members, with at least one chapter’s chairperson being convicted of harassment after appropriating the Facebook account of a deceased woman to threaten an activist’s family. In June of 2023 the Hamilton County chapter published a newsletter featuring a quote from Adolf Hitler on its front cover. The organization was met with condemnation from local politicians and subsequently apologized for using the quote.
Gender dysphoria is a mental health disorder that is being normalized by predators across the USA. California kids are at extreme risk from predatory adults. Now they want to ‘liberate’ children all over the country.
Moms for Liberty was established as a nonprofit in 2022 in response to the COVID pandemic, and focused on challenging requirements for masks, vaccines, and public health education, in general. Initially organized in 2021, Moms for Liberty was conceived by Tina Descovich, one of its co-founders and a member of her local school board who lost her seat over her positions on mask mandates and fair pay for teachers.
Descovich, alongside co-founders Tiffany Justice and Bridget Ziegler, founded the first official chapter in Indian Harbour Beach, Florida. Ziegler was replaced by Marie Rogerson in 2021 and has remained on the board as an executive director ever since. The group’s headquarters eventually moved to Melbourne, Florida.
The organization self-reports 260 chapters and 110,000 members in 43 states. They frame themselves as a grassroots organization, despite close ties to the Republican party. The group’s funding is unclear, but they have grown quickly despite existing formally for just a few short years.
In the wake of a sexual assault scandal involving Christian Ziegler, the husband of Bridget Ziegler, and a woman with whom the couple previously had a threesome, the other founders have formally distanced themselves from Bridget Ziegler. At least one chapter, in Pennsylvania, has split from the group in response to the accusations.
Moms for Liberty is a 501(c)(4) nonprofit incorporated in Indian Harbour Beach, Florida. As a 501(c)(4) nonprofit, they are not required to publicly disclose their donors, but their 2021 990 tax form reports a total revenue of $370,029. Of this amount, they received a reported $256,674 through grants or donations, $85,346 through “educational activities,” and $28,002 through merchandise sales.
Expenditures in 2021 totaled $163,647, with the largest portion of $102,486 spent on conferences, conventions, and meetings. Notably, all three co-founders list forty hours per week worked, with $5,000 of compensation given to Descovich and $1,800 paid to Rogerson.
In a 2021 interview, Descovich claimed “we do sell a lot of T-shirts,” in response to a question about the source of their funding and donations. With a reported cost of goods sold totaling $133,819 and net sales income of only $28,002, this claim is dubious. Conversely, a now-archived event listing headlined by Fox News’ Megyn Kelly shows a list of donation tiers, and when combined with a list of event sponsors and their appropriate contributions, shows a single-event receipt of $57,000 without including the cost of entry or sales of the event’s promotional package.
While their 2022 revenue remains unreported, Publix heiress Julie Fancelli provided a contribution of $50,000 in the first quarter of the year.
History of Anti-LGBTQ+ Activism
Florida Governor Ron DeSantis introduced a measure in 2022 allowing for parents in Florida to “raise concerns” about books they deem inappropriate, and petition to have them banned from public schools. To accomplish this, a council was formed that regularly passed over those with experience in teaching in favor of candidates like Michelle Beavers, the leader of the Brevard County Moms for Liberty chapter. Of the 41 books they sought to have removed from schools, many contained LGBTQ+ positive themes or messages, which they have attacked on the grounds of being “pornographic.”
In 2022, the Boone County Republican Party and Campbell County’s Moms For Liberty co-hosted the “Defund Public Education Rally” at the Kenton County Public Library. During the rally, many books with positive portrayals of LGBTQ+ individuals were criticized by both groups, likely as part of a wider initiative to garner support for Kentucky’s Senate Bill 5. SB5 revolved around the banning of books considered explicit by parents, and was sponsored by Senator Jason Howell, who has been scrutinized in the past for following sexually explicit Twitter accounts while rallying against pornographic materials.
As a larger move for Moms for Liberty to fill school boards with sympathetic members, the school board for the Berkeley County School District in South Carolina swore in six new members in 2022, all of whom were backed by the organization. Within two hours, the board voted to fire the superintendent and legal counsel to be replaced with stand-ins backed by Moms for Liberty. All remaining members of the school board dissented with this decision.
During a 2023 school board hearing in North Carolina, a local Moms for Liberty chapter arrived with several members of the Proud Boys, an alt-right hate group that makes regular public appearances with the intention of physically intimidating LGBTQ+ advocates. The group's links to the Proud Boys and other extremist groups have been reported on by Vice.
The group has made various attacks on LGBTQ+ people, including insinuating the LGBTQ+ charity The Trevor Project is “grooming children into a trans identity,” and support the notion that transgender identities are a “social contagion.”
In 2021, Florida’s Brevard County School Board members voted on a resolution to limit speaking time at public meetings in an effort to quell disruptive behavior by Moms for Liberty members, among others. The local chapter responded by filing a lawsuit seeking an injunction against the vote on the grounds that it violated their First Amendment rights to free speech. In their argument, the group claimed “the Chair’s custom of reading a criminal statute that penalizes disruptions before Board meetings and that her use of the Policy to interrupt and eject speakers chills their speech.”
A federal judge ruled against Moms for Liberty, noting “The record demonstrates that the Chair’s interruptions of Plaintiffs, and others, for personally directed comments were regularly brief and respectful, and Plaintiffs freely finished speaking.” As such, the group “have not experienced the objective chill necessary to establish standing, entitling Defendants to summary judgment.”