Attorney General Jeff Sessions on
Tuesday reportedly spoke at the Alliance Defending Freedom's (ADF)
Summit on Religious Liberty in Orange County, California.
News reported that Sessions' public schedule was updated on
Tuesday as he was en route to California and that the event was
closed to the press.
According to the Washington
Blade, Sessions' appearance at the event was confirmed by a
Department of Justice spokesperson. The spokesperson declined to say
whether Sessions supports the ADF's work, in particular a lawsuit
headed to the Supreme Court involving a Colorado baker who refused to
serve a gay couple.
In 2012, Jack Phillips, the owner of
Denver-based Masterpiece Cakeshop, refused to consider baking a cake
for Dave Mullins and Charlie Craig. The men married in Massachusetts
and wanted to buy a cake from Phillips for their Denver reception.
Phillips said that serving the couple would violate his religious
faith. Colorado at the time recognized gay and lesbian couples with
civil unions, not marriage.
The couple sued, saying that Phillips'
faith does not give him the right to discriminate, and a Colorado
court found that Phillips had discriminated against the men under
Colorado law. After the Colorado Supreme Court declined to hear an
appeal, Phillips turned to the Supreme Court, arguing that the First
Amendment protects his religious rights. The high court will hear
his case in the fall.
During a recent appearance on ABC's The
said that Jesus would not have made the cake for the couple.
A spokesman for the Democratic National
Committee (DNC) criticized Sessions' decision to speak to 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,” Joel 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 in to
question whether the attorney general intends to protect all