Tag Archives: Jeff Sessions

Southern Poverty Law Center Trashes Jeff Sessions Over Praising Praising ADF Hate Group

Southern Poverty Law Center Trashes Jeff Sessions Over Praising ADF Hate Group

Via the Southern Poverty Law Center:

During his campaign, President Trump promised to be “a real friend” to the LGBT community. Yet, yesterday, his attorney general, Jeff Sessions, lauded the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), a group that vilifies the LGBT community and promotes discrimination against it in the name of religion.

What’s more, Sessions attacked the SPLC for calling the ADF what it is – a hate group that would like to push the LGBT community into the closet if not into jail. Sessions’ words and actions reflect what is painfully obvious: Contrary to Trump’s campaign promise, his administration is no friend of the LGBT community.

The ADF richly deserves the hate group label. It supports the criminalization of sexual relations between consenting adults abroad. It opposes anti-bullying policies that provide protections on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. It says that the American Convention on Human Rights should not prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. It promotes the myth that there is a link between homosexuality and pedophilia despite the fact that the weight of scientific authority has debunked the claim.

Linking the LGBT community to pedophilia as the ADF has done is not an expression of a religious belief. It is simply a dangerous and ugly falsehood. FBI hate crime data show that the LGBT community is the minority group most likely to be targeted for violent hate crimes. Demonizing the LGBT community and portraying it as a danger to children is likely to exacerbate the hate crime epidemic it is facing.

Jeff Sessions: Alliance Defending Freedom Hate Group Is NOT A Hate Group

Donald Trump’s Attorney General Jeff Sessions came to the defense of the ultra right-wing  conservative group Alliance Defending Freedom in a  speech on religion Wednesday evening, taking direct aim at the Southern Poverty Law Center for labeling the radical conservative organization a “hate group.”

Said Sessons:

“When I spoke to ADF last year, I learned that the Southern Poverty Law Center had classified ADF as a ‘hate group. They have used this designation as a weapon and they have wielded it against conservative organizations that refuse to accept their orthodoxy.
You and I may not agree on everything — but I wanted to come back here tonight partially because I wanted to say this: You are not a hate group.”

Alliance Defending Freedom is the hate group behind the lawsuit brought by a Colorado baker who refused to create a wedding cake for a same-sex couple and recently prevailed at the Supreme Court. Sessions came under fire last year for speaking to the group behind closed doors, but Wednesday’s speech was streamed live on the group’s Facebook page.

In a statement on its website, Southern Poverty Law Center President Richard Cohen defended the ADF’s designation: “Just as sincerely held religious beliefs would not be a defense to a hate crime prosecution, vilifying others in the name of religion should not immunize a group from being designated as a hate group, in our view,” Cohen said. “And it’s ironic to suggest that the rights of ADF sympathizers are under attack when the ADF is doing everything in its power to deny the equal protection of the laws to the LGBT community.”

Today In Anti-LGBT Propaganda: FRC's Tony Perkins: Trump's Gay Ambassador Might Interfere With Countries That Put Gays To Death

FRC’s Tony Perkins on DOJ’s Religious Liberty Task Force: “We Are Witnessing The Revival Of Freedom”

Via press release from Family Research Council hate group leader Tony Perkins:

In the wake of the Obama administration, we are witnessing a revival of freedom! The announcement of the creation of a new Religious Liberty Task Force by Attorney General Jeff Sessions is the launch of the next phase of President Trump’s campaign promise to protect the religious freedoms of all Americans. The formation of this task force puts bureaucrats on notice: you will respect the freedom of every American not only to believe but to live according to those beliefs.

With initiatives such as this, it’s clear that the Trump administration understands the dangers of government actors attempting to quarantine religious beliefs within the walls of a church instead of embracing their historical contributions to America’s public good. No American should have to restrict the practice of their faith to within the confines of their place of worship.

I commend President Trump and Attorney General Sessions for safeguarding the freedom to live out one’s faith in all areas of society without government punishment or intimidation. History makes clear, religious freedom is the key to a strong, stable and successful nation.

Dear Tony:

WE ARE UNDER ATTACK: Jeff Sessions Issues Sweeping “License To Discriminate” Rules Against LGBT Americans

This is not to be taken lightly.

The Associated Press reports:

In an order that undercuts federal protections for LGBT people, Attorney General Jeff Sessions issued a sweeping directive to agencies Friday to do as much as possible to accommodate those who claim their religious freedoms are being violated.

The guidance, an attempt to deliver on President Donald Trump’s pledge to his evangelical supporters that he would protect religious liberties, effectively lifts a burden from religious objectors to prove that their beliefs about marriage or other topics are sincerely held.

Under the new policy, a claim of a violation of religious freedom would be enough to override many anti-discrimination protections for LGBT people, women and others. The guidelines are so sweeping that experts on religious liberty are calling them a legal powder-keg that could prompt wide-ranging lawsuits against the government.

“This is putting the world on notice: You better take these claims seriously,” said Robin Fretwell Wilson, a law professor at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign. “This is a signal to the rest of these agencies to rethink the protections they have put in place on sexual orientation and gender identity.”

If you ever had any doubt that this administration was out to destroy the LGBT community then this should be a wake up call to you and everyone else

We must all stand up and fight!

 

Trump’s Department of Justice Urges Appeal Court To Rule That The Civil Rights Act Does Not Cover Gays

The Trump administration on Tuesday urged that the U.S. appeals court in Manhattan to rule that federal law does not ban discrimination against gay employees.

The U.S. Department of Justice is supporting a New York skydiving company, Altitude Express Inc, in a lawsuit brought by former instructor Donald Zarda, who accused the company of firing him after he told a customer he was gay and she complained.

The case will require the 2nd U.S. Circuit Court of Appeals to decide whether discrimination against gay workers is a form of unlawful sex bias under Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964. That law bans discrimination based on workers’ sex, race, religion and other traits.

The U.S. Equal Employment Opportunity Commission, which enforces Title VII, has been arguing for five years that bias against gay workers violates the law. So far, only one federal appeals court has agreed..

The EEOC will appear at Tuesday’s hearing on behalf of Zarda’s estate.

Donald Zarda died in a BASE-jumping accident after filing his lawsuit

Jeff Sessions and the DOJ Set To Reject LGBT Workplace Protections Under Title VII

 

According to sources from the Washington Blade, Jeff Sessions and the Justice Department intends to file a friend-of-the-court brief that would affirm the view of the three-judge panel on the Second Circuit who  in April determined Title VII doesn’t prohibit anti-gay discrimination in the case of Zarda v. Altitude Express which alleges  Donald Zarda, who has since passed away  was fired from his job in 2010 for being gay.

Such a brief would reverse a position under former U.S. Attorney Eric Holder asserting discrimination on the basis of gender identity is prohibited under Title VII. In a 2014 memo, Holder wrote the Justice Department will no longer assert Title VII’s prohibition on gender discrimination “does not encompass gender identity per se (including transgender discrimination).”

The current case is under review at the request of Lambda Legal has agreed to reconsider the ruling “en banc,” or before the full court.

James Esseks, director of the ACLU’s LGBT and HIV Project, states that filing such a brief would be going out of its way to undermine LGBT rights.

“This would be a gratuitous and extraordinary attack on LGBT people’s civil rights,” Esseks said. “DOJ would be reaching out to offer its opinion on these issues, since they are not a party to this case. That’s not championing LGBT people, it’s working affirmatively to expose us to discrimination. But fortunately, whether the Civil Rights Act protects LGBT people is ultimately a question for the courts to resolve, and not for the attorney general. We are confident that the courts will come to the right decision here.”

Even though the Justice Department brief would be restricted to an interpretation of law related to employment, it could have implications for other federal laws barring sex discrimination in housing and education and seems to be at odds with the position of the Education Department.

If you think this is not an all out war against the LGBT community.  Think again.

READ: Full Speech Given By Attorney General Jeff Sessions to the Alliance Defending Freedom Hate Group Gathering

Prepared remarks of the Attorney General to the Alliance Defending Freedom on July 11, 2017

Thank you for that introduction. And thank you for the important work that you do every day to uphold and protect the right to religious liberty in this country. This is especially needed today.

While your clients vary from pastors to nuns to geologists, all of us benefit from your good work—because religious liberty and respect for religion have strengthened this country from the beginning. In fact, it was largely in order to enjoy and protect these rights that this country was settled and founded in the first place, as those in this room especially know.

Our concepts of religious freedom came to us through the development of the Western heritage of faith and reason. In America, Madison and Jefferson advanced those concepts. Their victory was to declare religious freedom to be a matter of conscience inherent in each individual, not as a matter of toleration granted from the top. I propose that in America our understanding of religious freedom can only be understood within that heritage.

Our Founders wisely recognized that religion is not an accident of history or a passing circumstance. It is at the core of the human experience, and as close to a universal phenomenon as any. Each one of us considers with awe the stars in the sky and at the moral code within our hearts. Even today, in a rapidly changing world, a majority of the American people tell Gallup that religion is “very important” in their lives.

With this insight into human nature, they took care to reserve a permanent space for freedom of religion in America. That space is the very first line of the Bill of Rights.

And not just that line. Twelve of the 13 colonies authored state constitutions that protected the free exercise of religion. Six of the original 13 states had established churches, but almost every state made accommodations for religious minorities like Quakers or Mennonites. They did not insist that all follow the same doctrines. Every state constitution at the time of our Founding—and now—mentions God.

Our first president, George Washington, called for a national day of prayer. And he wrote to a Jewish congregation in Rhode Island that in America, “all possess alike liberty of conscience.”

In his farewell address, President Washington famously called religion the “indispensable support of political prosperity [and a] great pillar of human happiness.” He warned, “Let us with caution indulge the supposition that morality can be maintained without religion…Reason and experience both forbid us to expect that national morality can prevail in exclusion of religious principle.”

And Thomas Jefferson did not mention on his tombstone that he had served as president. He named three accomplishments: that he had founded the University of Virginia, authored the Declaration of Independence, and authored the statute of religious freedom in Virginia.

This national commitment to religious freedom has continued throughout our history, and it has remained just as important to our prosperity and unity ever since. When Alexis de Tocqueville visited this country, he noted “in France I had almost always seen the spirit of religion and the spirit of freedom marching in opposite directions. But in America I found they were intimately united and that they reigned in common over the same country.”

And of course it was faith that inspired Martin Luther King Jr. to march and strive to make this country stronger yet. His was a religious movement. The faith that truth would overcome. He said that we “must not seek to solve the problem” of segregation merely for political reasons, but “in the final analysis, we must get rid of segregation because it is sinful.” It undermined the promise, as he described it, that “each individual has certain basic rights that are neither derived from nor conferred by the state…they are gifts from the hands of the Almighty God.”

So our freedom as citizens has always been inextricably linked with our religious freedom as a people. It has protected both the freedom to worship and the freedom not to believe as well.

To an amazing degree, the value of religion is totally missed by many today. Our inside-the-beltway crowd has no idea how much good is being done in this country every day by our faith communities. They teach right behavior, they give purpose to life, and they support order, lawfulness, and personal discipline while comforting the sick, supporting families, and giving support to those in need. They are there at birth and death.

But the cultural climate has become less hospitable to people of faith and to religious belief. And in recent years, many Americans have felt that their freedom to practice their faith has been under attack. This feeling is understandable. Just last year, a Harvard Law professor publicly urged judges to “take aggressively liberal positions…The culture wars are over. They lost; we won…Taking a hard line is better than trying to accommodate the losers.”

A lot of people are concerned about what this changing cultural climate means for the future of religious liberty in this country. The challenges our nation faces today concerning our historic First Amendment right to the “free exercise” of our faith have become acute. I believe that this recent election was significantly impacted by this concern and that this motivated many voters. President Trump made a promise that was heard. In substance, he said he respected people of faith and he promised to protect them in the free exercise of their faith. This promise was well received.

How, then, should we deal with this matter? America has never thought itself to be a theocracy. Our founders, at least the most articulate of them, believed our government existed as a protector of religious rights of Americans that were essential to being a created human being.

The government did not exist to promote religious doctrine nor to take sides in religious disputes that had, as they well knew, caused wars and death in Europe. Nor was it the government’s role to immanetize the eschaton, as Bill Buckley reminded us. The government’s role was to provide the great secular structure that would protect the rights of all citizens to fulfill their duty to relate to God as their conscience dictated and to guarantee the citizen’s right to exercise that faith.

The government would not take sides, and would not get between God and man. Religious rights were natural rights, not subject to government infringement, as the Virginia Assembly once eloquently declared.

Our freedom as citizens has always been inextricably linked with our religious freedom as a people.

Any review of our nation’s policies must understand this powerful constraint on our government and recognize its soundness. Yet this understanding in no way can be held to contend that government should be hostile to people of faith and is obligated to deprive public life of all religious expression.

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. We will not require American citizens to give intellectual assent to doctrines that are contrary to their religious beliefs. And they must be allowed to exercise those beliefs as the First Amendment guarantees.

We will defend freedom of conscience resolutely. That is inalienable. That is our heritage.

Since he was elected, President Trump has been an unwavering defender of religious liberty. He has promised that under a Trump Administration, “the federal government will never, ever penalize any person for their protected religious beliefs.” And he is fulfilling that promise. First, President Trump appointed an outstanding Supreme Court justice with a track record of applying the law as written, Neil Gorsuch. I have confidence that he will be faithful to the full meaning of the First Amendment and protect the rights of all Americans.

This understanding in no way can be held to contend that government should be hostile to people of faith and is obligated to deprive public life of all religious expression.

The president has also directed me to issue guidance on how to apply federal religious liberty protections. The department is finalizing this guidance, and I will soon issue it.

The guidance will also help agencies follow the Religious Freedom Restoration Act. Congress enacted RFRA so that, if the federal government imposes a burden on somebody’s religious practice, it had better have a compelling reason. That is a demanding standard, and it’s the law of the land. We will follow it just as faithfully as we follow every other federal law. If we’re going to ensure that religious liberty is adequately protected and our country remains free, then we must ensure that RFRA is followed.

Under this administration, religious Americans will be treated neither as an afterthought nor as a problem to be managed. The federal government will actively find ways to accommodate people of all faiths. The protections enshrined in the Constitution and our laws protect all Americans, including when we work together, speak in the public square, and when we interact with our government. We don’t waive our constitutional rights when we participate fully in public life and civic society.

This administration, and the upcoming guidance, will be animated by that same American view that has led us for 241 years: that every American has a right to believe, worship, and exercise their faith in the public square. It has served this country well, and it has made us not only one of the tolerant countries in the world, it has also helped make us the freest and most generous.

Thank you.

 

Via The Federalist

Attorney General Jeff Sessions To Give Speech At LGBT Hate Group Alliance Defending Freedom Gathering

U.S. Attorney General Jeff Sessions — known for his anti-LGBT  and racist record —will speak tonight a “Religious Liberty”  event for the anti-LGBT legal group Alliance Defending Freedom which is representing before the U.S. Supreme Court a Colorado baker that denied a wedding cake to a same-sex couple for religious reasons

Other anti-LGBT work credited to Alliance Defending Freedom is support for the First Amendment Defense Act, a federal bill that would allow anti-LGBT discrimination in the name of “religious freedom.”

A Justice Department spokesperson confirmed Sessions’ appearance at the event, but declined to say whether it signifies support for Alliance Defending Freedom’s lawsuit before the Supreme Court..

Joel Kasnetz, a spokesperson for the Democratic National Committee, said in a statement Sessions’ willingness to speak to Alliance Defending Freedom speaks volumes about his approach as attorney general.

“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. “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 into question whether the attorney general intends to protect all Americans.”

Honestly, he is not a good speaker but now he is on speech therapy. All speech therapy services in Singapore teaches you to communicate in the best way you can through a total communication approach. Their language and speech therapists in Singapore provide assessment and treatment for autism, stuttering, articulation disorders, phonological disorders, language disorders, dyspraxia/apraxia, dysarthria, and more.

David Dinielli, deputy legal director for the Southern Poverty Law Center, called on Sessions to make public his remarks during the closed-door event.

“The Alliance Defending Freedom has rightfully earned its designation as a hate group by demonizing LGBT people,” Dinielli said. “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.”

Donald Trump Picks Rabidly Racist and Anti-Gay Jeff Sessions for Attorney General

Donald Trump Picks Rabidly Racist and Anti-Gay Jeff Sessions for Attorney General

 

Via the New York Times:

President-elect Donald J. Trump has selected Senator Jeff Sessions, a conservative from Alabama who became a close adviser after endorsing him early in his campaign, to be the attorney general of the United States, according to officials close to the transition.

Mr. Sessions was also under consideration for secretary of defense, creating debate within the Trump transition team over which job he should fill.

Mr. Sessions, a former prosecutor elected to the Senate in 1996, serves on the Judiciary Committee and has opposed immigration reform as well as bipartisan proposals to cut mandatory minimum prison sentences.

While Mr. Sessions is well liked in the Senate, his record as United States attorney in Alabama in the 1980s is very likely to become an issue for Democrats and civil rights groups expected to give it close scrutiny.

While serving as a United States prosecutor in Alabama, Mr. Sessions was nominated in 1986 by President Ronald Reagan for a federal judgeship. But his nomination was rejected by the Republican-controlled Senate Judiciary Committee because of racially charged comments and actions. At that time, he was one of two judicial nominees whose selections were halted by the panel in nearly 50 years.

In testimony before the committee, former colleagues said that Mr. Sessions had referred to the N.A.A.C.P., the Southern Christian Leadership Conference and other civil rights groups as “un-American” and “Communist-inspired.” An African-American federal prosecutor then, Thomas H. Figures, said Mr. Sessions had referred to him as “boy” and testified that Mr. Sessions said the Ku Klux Klan was fine “until I found out they smoked pot.” Mr. Sessions dismissed that remark as a joke.

Sessions in the past Voted YES on constitutional ban of same-sex marriage. Voted NO on adding sexual orientation to definition of hate crimes and has a 0 LGBT rights voting record.

Sessions was the first GOP Senator to openly endorse Donald Trump.