Democrats and LGBT groups are
criticizing Attorney General Jeff Sessions for addressing the
Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), a Christian conservative group
opposed to LGBT rights.
News reported that Sessions' public schedule was updated on
Tuesday as he was en route to California to speak at the ADF's Summit
on Religious Liberty in Orange County, California. The event was
closed to the press.
In 2016, the Southern Poverty Law
Center (SPLC) designated ADF a “hate group” for its opposition to
LGBT rights. The group is currently representing a Colorado baker
who refused to serve a gay couple. The Supreme Court is expected to
hear the case in the fall.
David Dinielli, the SPLC's deputy legal
director, said in a statement that the SPLC on Wednesday submitted a
Freedom of Information Act request to the Department of Justice for
the remarks given by Sessions at the event.
“We’re concerned that Attorney
General Jeff Sessions would make a speech behind closed doors to a
group that supports criminalizing homosexuality and marginalizing
LGBT people around the world,” Dinielli said.
“For this reason, we have filed a
Freedom of Information Act request asking the Department of Justice
to make Mr. Sessions’ remarks available promptly. The American
public has a right to know what he said.”
Democrats also 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,” said Joel Kasnetz, a spokesman for
the Democratic National Committee (DNC). “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.”
The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the
nation's largest LGBT rights advocate, added: “The nation's top
lawyer rallying with an anti-LGBTQ hate group? Outrageous.”