Ross Douthat, a columnist for The New York Times, has apologized for appearing at a fundraiser for an anti-gay legal group.

The event, titled The Price of Citizenship: Losing Religious Freedom in America, took place on October 16 in Denton, Texas and was hosted by the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), a Christian conservative legal group strongly opposed to gay rights.

Douthat's participation was highlighted by media watchdog Equality Matters.

“The event touched on a number of popular right-wing horror stories about LGBT equality, from the plight of anti-gay bakers and florists, to the outrage over the recent subpoenaing of several Houston pastors,” the site explained. “At the end of the event, ADF solicited donations from the audience, announcing a dollar-for-dollar matching pledge from an anonymous donor.”

On Wednesday, Douthat issued a statement stating that he did not know that the event was a fundraiser.

“I was not aware in advance that this event was a fundraiser and had I known, I would not have agreed to participate,” he said. “I was invited by an events organizing group, not the ADF directly. I understood this to be a public conversation about religious liberty. This is my fault for not doing my due diligence, and I will be declining the honorarium [I received from the ADF].”

A skeptical Dan Savage responded in a The Stranger editorial: “So... it would've been fine for Douthat to have a 'conversation' with the organization that wants to send [out Times columnists] Frank Bruni and Josh Barro to prison but a line was crossed when Douthat helped raise money for the organization that wants to send Frank Bruni and Josh Barro to prison. And let's end with [a] followup question for Ross Douthat: We know that your pals at the ADF want to send Josh and Frank to prison – along with all the other gay men, lesbians, bisexuals, and trans folks who work at the New York Times – but do you? Do you believe that gay sex should be criminalized? And if you don't, Ross, what are you doing in bed with people who do?”

Savage was referring to ADF's work defending Texas' sodomy law in the 2003 Supreme Curt case Lawrence v. Texas. Lawrence, of course, is the groundbreaking ruling that struck down state sodomy laws prohibiting oral and anal sex between consenting adults. The laws were used almost exclusively to criminalize gay sex.