Does AG Sessions’ speech to anti-LGBT hate group mean he endorses their agenda?

Attorney General Jeff Sessions. AP Photo, Jacquelyn Martin.

by Rob Howard
Associate Editor

Yesterday evening, Attorney General Jeff Sessions gave a closed-door speech to the Alliance Defending Freedom’s (ADF) Summit on Religious Liberty in Dana Point, California. The press was banned from the speech, and the Justice Department has so far refused to reveal what he said.

According to ABC News’ website, “A spokesperson for the Department of Justice confirmed that Sessions addressed the Alliance Defending Freedom on Tuesday but did not respond to multiple requests to release his remarks. The Department of Justice released a transcript of remarks he delivered in Dallas earlier on Tuesday and a transcript of remarks he delivered in Las Vegas on Wednesday, but a transcript of his address to the Alliance Defending Freedom has yet to be released.”

The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC), which has long designated the ADF as an anti-LGBT+ hate group, is demanding that Sessions’ remarks be released. In a statement, David Dinielli, the deputy legal director for the SPLC, 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 Human Rights Campaign commented, “The nation’s top lawyer rallying with an anti-LGBTQ hate group? Outrageous.”

ABC News’ report continued, “A spokesperson for the Department of Justice did not respond to questions about whether the speech was a show of support for Phillips’ case or whether Sessions met with any of the group’s members before or after his speech.

“In a recent blog post on its website titled ‘Hate-group labelers are the ones spreading hate,’ the Alliance Defending Freedom called the Southern Poverty Law Center’s ‘hate group’ designation a ‘lie.’

“’We at ADF condemn all such manifestations of true hate,’ the post reads. ‘They have no place in our society.’” quoted Democratic National Committee spokesman Joel Kasnetz as saying in a statement condemning Sessions’ appearance before the group: “’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,’ Kasnetz said Tuesday.

"‘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.’”

Copyright 2017 The Gayly – July 12, 2017 @ 2:30 p.m.