U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions delivered remarks behind closed doors to anti-LGBTQ hate group Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) earlier this week. His speech wasn’t made public until pressure from HRC and other civil rights organizations and reporters caused the Department of Justice to use an intermediary to release a copy of the alarming transcript.
BuzzFeed’s Dominic Holden previously filed a Freedom of Information Act request seeking a transcript of the speech and published them yesterday.
Sessions’s office won't release speech to religious anti-LGBT group Alliance Defending Freedom. Here’s my FOIA request for all the records: pic.twitter.com/5KzFfG9rX8— Dominic Holden (@dominicholden) July 13, 2017
“In all of this litigation and debate, this Department of Justice will never allow this secular government of ours to demand that sincere religious beliefs be abandoned,” said Sessions. “We will not require American citizens to give intellectual assent to doctrines that are contrary to their religious beliefs...They must be allowed to exercise those beliefs as the First Amendment guarantees.”
Sessions also invoked “culture wars” and lamented the rising support across the country for the legal equality of LGBTQ people.
“[The] cultural climate has become less hospitable to people of faith and to religious belief,” according to Sessions’ remarks to ADF. “And in recent years, many Americans have felt that their freedom to practice their faith has been under attack. This feeling is understandable.”
Shamelessly, he invoked civil rights icon Martin Luther King Jr. in attempting to defend his abysmal track record on civil rights.
“[Of] course it was faith that inspired Martin Luther King Jr. to march and strive to make this country stronger yet,” according to Session’s remarks. “His was a religious movement. The faith that truth would overcome.”
In which Jeff Sessions invokes Martin Luther King Jr. during a speech before a hate group. https://t.co/01mrXQha1q— Chad Griffin (@ChadHGriffin) July 13, 2017
Sessions’ alarming comments prove that he is not following through on promises made about hate crimes prevention. A month ago, he vowed to protect transgender women from violent attacks and now we find him promoting license to discriminate laws -- once again.