Moms for Liberty, the extremist “parental rights group,” was supposed to help the Republican Party regain the White House. In July, former president Donald Trump called the anti-LGBTQ group with 300 active chapters across the county a “grassroots juggernaut.” They are credited with forcing schools to lift mask mandates, banning books featuring LGBTQ characters, and supporting anti-trans laws and policies across the country. The group was on track to be instrumental to the GOP in the 2024 election.
But, over the course of the past five months, the group has begun to unravel.
Experts have questioned the claims about the size of the group’s membership, and individual members have been exposed as sex offenders and acolytes of the Proud Boys. Then, last month, Moms for Liberty cofounder Bridget Ziegler admitted in a police interview to being in a relationship with her husband and another woman. The interview was conducted after the woman in question alleged that Ziegler’s husband, Florida GOP chair Christian Ziegler, had raped her.
Ziegler’s husband has denied the allegations and refused to resign from his position as GOP chair, despite calls from Florida governor Ron DeSantis and other state Republicans to do so. Ziegler is also a member of the Sarasota County School Board, and has been instrumental in ushering in Florida’s Don’t Say Gay bill, pushing a Christian agenda in public schools, and banning the teaching of critical race theory. On Tuesday night, the board voted 4–1 in favor of a nonbinding resolution calling for her to resign, marking a rapid fall from grace for Ziegler and a potential fatal blow to Moms for Liberty.
“The impact of the Zeigler scandal has been enormous on the Moms for Liberty structure,” Liz Mikitarian, the founder of the activist group STOP Moms for Liberty, which closely tracks the group’s activities, tells WIRED. “We see chapters moving away or taking a break, chapter leadership questioning their roles and scrambling at the national level to save their ‘mom’ brand. The organization is trying to distance itself from the Zieglers, but this is impossible because the Zieglers are interwoven into the very fabric of Moms for Liberty.” [Continue reading…]