The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) for the first time classified Moms for Liberty as an “anti-government extremist” group, part of its latest “Year in Hate & Extremism” report released Tuesday.
The group was one of 11 other so-called “parents’ rights” groups that the extremism watchdog organization labeled as such in the report.
Moms for Liberty is the most prominent in a constellation of similar groups that have terrorized local school officials amid a larger push to promote social conservative values in public education. The group made headlines this past year for going berserk over a school yearbook’s LGBTQ+ page and allegedly hacking a dead woman’s Facebook account to harass foes, among other headline-grabbing tactics.
But it’s hardly a unique phenomenon. These “parents’ rights” groups have been on the rise, in part due to backlash over COVID-19 safety measures, the SPLC reports.
More recently, they’ve grown “into an anti-student inclusion movement that targets any inclusive curriculum that contains discussions of race, discrimination and LGBTQ identities,” the SPLC wrote in a statement attached to the report.
“Moms for Liberty activities make it clear that the group’s primary goals are to fuel right-wing hysteria and to make the world a less comfortable or safe place for certain students–primarily those who are Black, LGBTQ or who come from LGBTQ families,” the statement said.
The group has grown exponentially in recent years, and now has more than 200 branches nationwide.
Moms for Liberty also claims to be a bipartisan group—but cultivates deep ties to the Republican party, particularly in its founding state of Florida.
Gov. Ron DeSantis heavily promoted their efforts to curb lessons focused on race and gender in state-run schools, and even endorsed a number of school board candidates from the organization during statewide elections in 2022.
Both DeSantis and Donald Trump are slated to speak at the Moms for Liberty national summit at the end of June—setting up a bitter competition for the group’s endorsement as they face off for the 2024 Republican nomination.