Obama’s Attorney General makes poignant visit to Stonewall Inn, as Trump replaces her with homophobe
President Obama’s Attorney General Loretta Lynch sent an emotional message from the Stonewall Inn this week – a month before Donald Trump replaces her with a notoriously anti-LGBT Senator.
Across eight years in power, Obama’s two successive top law officials, Eric Holder and Loretta Lynch, have tirelessly supported LGBT rights; filing countless briefs in support of anti-discrimination protections, family rights, marriage equality and LGBT rights protections. However, Trump’s nominee for the key role, Republican Senator Jeff Sessions, has the polar opposite record.
Sessions is known as one of the most conservative and anti-LGBT members of Congress, holding a 0 percent rating on the Human Rights Campaign’s Congressional Scorecard on LGBT rights. He fought vocally against equal marriage and discrimination protections for LGBT people, and opposed lifting the ban on openly gay people serving in the military. While serving as Alabama attorney general in 1996, Sessions attempted to ban gay and lesbian groups from meeting at the state university.
With just over a month until the Trump administration takes power, Ms Lynch sent a poignant message this week on a trip to New York – by visiting an considered the birthplace of the modern gay rights movement.
She sat down in the Stonewall Inn for an interview with out news anchor Rachel Maddow.
The official addressed the likely impending shift in stance on LGBT rights in the department she currently runs.
Maddow said: “It means a lot to know the Department of Justice is on your side… but it also feels like the Department of Justice may not be on their side in the next administration.”
Ms Lynch vowed: “A lot of things change with the turn of the electoral wheel, but history is bigger than just the electoral wheel.
“History is bigger than any one administration, or even any one Attorney General… history encompasses all of the change and the progress that we’ve made
“History is on the side of marginalised people who speak up for themselves, of people who feel isolated and left out, who speak up for themselves.
“It doesn’t mean there won’t be challenges. But I’ll tell you – this work has always been hard. There have been times when the structure of government has been even more opposed to different groups than it is now.
“We have had state-sanctioned discrimination in this country for years – the civil rights movement was about breaking down those barriers.
“But the movements came first, and the movements are composed of people. When people come together – whether here in Stonewall, or in Selma, that’s when you see change. Change comes from up. It moves up the ladder.”
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Ms Maddow also asked her about her direct replacement.
“There are a number of very high profile people in the incoming administration, including the man who will be the nominee for your job, who I think have really made their political nut on hostility to LGBT people, on hostility to LGBT rights. That’s how they got the power they’ve had. Do you see this last election [as] a backlash to the progress that was made on LGBT issues in the Obama administration?”
Ms Lynch responded: “I’m not sure if we’re far enough away from the election to really quantify it and describe it, but that will go on for some time. I look forward to that analysis also.
“When you look at history, it’s larger than one administration or one Attorney General, but you do see periods of progress followed by periods of repression of those rights that were advanced. You do see a backlash sometimes, in some situations.
“I think while people may fear a backlash, the issue is are we going to allow it to occur. I think people have been energised and will keep raising these issues, and it’s going to be in a way that cannot be ignored.”
Watch the full interview via The Rachel Maddow Show below: