Attorney General Jeff Sessions recently spoke to a self-described Christian religious freedom advocacy group known for anti-gay stances. The group is representing a Colorado baker who refused to make a wedding cake for a same-sex couple, claiming that to do so would violate his right to religious liberty under the Constitution. The case will be heard by the Supreme Court next term.
Alliance Defending Freedom says it is dedicated to promoting religious freedom – but the group is also known for having taken aggressive anti-gay marriage stands. Sessions spoke at the closed-press “Summit on Religious Liberty”, but the Justice Department has declined requests to release his full remarks.
“ADF is the most extreme anti-gay legal organization — so extreme that it does not concede even that gay or transgender people should be permitted to exist as such,” said Shannon Minter of the National Center for Lesbian Rights. “They are a truly destructive force in our country, and it is appalling that the attorney general of the United States would lend them the imprimatur of his office.”
Several other LGBTQ advocates said they were particularly troubled by the decision to keep Sessions’ remarks private.
“The attorney general has every right to speak to a group like Alliance Defending Freedom,” said David Stacy, Government Affairs Director of Human Rights Campaign. “What troubles us is that his remarks are being kept hidden from the public at the same time he has been tasked by the President with issuing religious discrimination policies that ADF has long promoted.”