In an op-ed published Friday on The Advocate's website, Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), described Attorney General Jeff Sessions' “religious liberty” task force as an attempt to discriminate against the LGBT community.

Late last month, Sessions announced creation of the task force – which he will chair – saying that it was needed because a “dangerous” movement is “challenging and eroding our great tradition of religious freedom. … It must be confronted intellectually and politically and defeated.”

In making the announcement during a summit in the Department of Justice's Great Hall, Sessions was surrounded by Christian conservative leaders opposed to LGBT rights.

“When Attorney General Jeff Sessions stood shoulder to shoulder with some of the nation’s leading anti-LGBTQ extremists last week to announce a new taxpayer-funded 'Religious Liberty Task Force,' he knew well enough to talk about the effort in coded terms,” Griffin said. “But to millions of LGBTQ people across the country, the tactic and message was instantly recognizable as yet another insidious effort to weaponize religion as a tool of discrimination and relegate LGBTQ people and our families to second class citizenship.”

Griffin said that the task force was another example of how the Trump administration sees “LGBTQ people as dispensable and unworthy of equal rights.”

“Over the last two years, Donald Trump and Mike Pence have made it a priority to roll back our progress towards LGBTQ equality in this country, and they've shamelessly used religion as a tool of discrimination.”

“The right to believe is fundamental, but the right to discriminate is not.”

“That’s why the Human Rights Campaign submitted a Freedom of Information Act request to the Department of Justice on August 7 for all records associated with this Task Force. Sessions’ history of working with anti-LGBTQ extremists to advance an insidious agenda raises questions that demand answers.”

“The Constitution already protects the ability to exercise one's religion. What our Constitution does not protect is using taxpayer funds to wield religion as a weapon of discrimination,” Griffin concluded.

(Related: Jeff Sessions defends group that backed baker who refused to serve gay couple.)