Trump’s Attorney General pressed to release his secret speech to anti-LGBT activists
Trump’s Attorney General is refusing to release details of a behind-closed-doors speech he gave to anti-LGBT activists.
Trump’s legal chief Jeff Sessions this week attended a summit held by Alliance Defending Freedom, a hardline evangelical law firm which battles against LGBT discrimination protections.
Details of his speech have not been released, and press was barred from attended the event.
The Supreme Court is currently considering an ADF-backed case of a Colorado baker who refused to bake a wedding cake for a gay couple.
It is unclear what the Attorney General, the top legal authority in the Trump administration, told the audience, and the Justice Department has refused to release a transcript.
The Southern Poverty Law Center today pressed Sessions to immediately release his speech.
David Dinielli, deputy legal director for the Southern Poverty Law Center, said: “How can we trust that the nation’s top law enforcement officer will protect all Americans when he’s willing to meet behind closed doors with a group that supports criminalizing homosexuality and marginalizing LGBT people around the world?
“The Alliance Defending Freedom has rightfully earned its designation as a hate group by demonizing LGBT people.
“If Attorney General Jeff Sessions doesn’t condone such beliefs, he should immediately make his remarks to the group public and be prepared to defend them.
“The LGBT community – as well as all Americans – needs to know if he is capable of upholding our country’s fundamental promise of equal protection under the law.”
The Democrats also pressed Sessions over the speech.
Joel Kasnetz of the Democratic National Committee said: “You can judge a person by the company they keep and tonight – Attorney General Jeff Sessions is choosing to spend his time speaking in front of one of the country’s leading anti-LGBTQ hate groups.
“The Alliance Defending Freedom actively helped draft discriminatory legislation, worked to preserve laws criminalizing same-sex relations, and attacked the separation of church and state.
“ADF has been previously designated a hate group and Sessions’ appearance at this event, as the top law enforcement official in the country, brings in to question whether the attorney general intends to protect all Americans.”
Though the ADF is framing the baker case around a religious objection to same-sex marriage, their other cases show a much wider support for anti-LGBT discrimination.
Sessions’ heartfelt engagement with the ADF appears to be a massive conflict of interest, given the President recently tasked him with heading a supposed ‘review’ of religious liberty protections.
Earlier this year Trump signed an order tasking Sessions with “issuing guidance interpreting religious liberty protections in Federal law”.
Draft plans leaked from inside the White House previously included protections for people who discriminate based on “the belief that marriage is or should be recognised as the union of one man and one woman”.
Sessions is a strongly anti-LGBT former Republican Senator who co-sponsored the so-called ‘First Amendment Defence Act’.
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His bill would have prevented the federal government from taking action against a person “on the basis that such person believes or acts in accordance with a religious belief or moral conviction that marriage is or should be recognized as the union of one man and one woman”.
The ADF recently filed a lawsuit against a school district’s pro-transgender policy.
The law firm claimed the trans-inclusive bathroom policy constitutes sexual harassment and a privacy violation.
ADF’s Legal Counsel Kellie Fiedorek said: “Our laws and customs have long recognised that we shouldn’t have to undress in front of persons of the opposite sex.
“But now some schools are forcing our children into giving up their privacy rights.”