LGBTQ activist group 'Free Mom Hugs' delivers cease and desist to Moms for Liberty over accusations they are 'groomers'

"Free Mom Hugs" claims that comments made by Moms for Liberty's Tiffany Justice constitute "illegal defamation and harassment."

Katie Daviscourt Seattle WA

An attorney for Oklahoma LGBTQ advocacy group Free Mom Hugs issued a cease and desist letter to Moms for Liberty on Thursday, threatening legal action after the conservative group called the organization "groomers."

Free Mom Hugs is a group that offers hugs to LGBTQ people at Pride events who have been estranged from their families. The idea is to create a new, more "affirming" or accepting family. 

An attorney on behalf of "Free Mom Hugs" alleges that the comments made by Moms for Liberty co-founder Tiffany Justice are considered "illegal defamation and harassment," and that they will be obliged to take legal action if Moms for Liberty does not "cease and desist."

This is in response to Justice posting a photo on social media of one of the LGBTQ advocacy group's members along with the caption, "If you are offering kids 'free Mom hugs' but you aren't their Mom, you might be a Groomer."

The cease and desist letter, which was posted on X by Moms for Liberty, reads: "This letter is to inform you that if you choose not to CEASE AND DESIST illegal defamation and harassment of Free Mom Hugs representatives, Free Mom Hugs will be forced to take legal measures to protect itself from this unlawful conduct."

"On or around March 8, 2024, Tiffany Justice posted a picture of a Free Mom Hugs volunteer in a Free Mom Hugs T-Shirt with the caption 'If you are offering kids "free Mom hugs" but you aren't their Mom, you might be a Groomer.' Since this initial posting, at least one other representative from Moms for Liberty made similar false accusations regarding Free Mom Hugs representatives."

The attorney argued in the letter that Justice's statement was "maliciously untrue and defamatory in nature."

"Making false claims of this nature is extremely harmful to the reputation of Free Mom Hugs and, therefore, illegal. Free Mom Hugs will consider future posts of this nature as defamatory harassment and will take all measures to protect itself from this illegal conduct. This may include filing a police report and filing suit," the letter states.

"Free Mom Hugs is hopeful that your illegal conduct will stop with this notice so that we can all move on without spending needless time and resources in a courtroom. However, if Free Mom Hugs is forced to protect itself because you continue this illegal, defamatory, and harassing conduct, Free Mom Hugs will take all legal measures necessary to protect itself," the letter concludes.

According to the LGBTQ organization's website, Free Mom Hugs was created to "affirm the LGBTQIA+ community as an important part of our society" and to empower the world to celebrate the LGBTQIA+ community through visibility, education, and conversation."

The group offers hugs to members of the LGBTQ community at Pride events and has chapters in all 50 states, according to its website.

Justice told The Oklahoman that she made the "groomer" comment about the organization because "Offering 'free mom hugs' to children who might be upset with or led to believe they should not trust their parents, when you are not that child's mother, and especially when done in service to an ideological view like Queer Theory & Practice, double especially if behind the parents' backs, is inappropriate behavior befitting a groomer, regardless of the person's intentions and must be viewed suspiciously, especially in the current circumstances."

Sara Cunningham, Free Mom Hugs founder, denied the grooming allegations in a statement to The Oklahoman.

"Free Mom Hugs exists because of a need that organically presented itself at a Pride event through one hug to a lesbian who hadn't had a hug from her mom in 4 years," said Cunningham. "We aren’t trying to replace anyone’s parents. We are just a group of moms trying to keep queer kids alive."

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