Attorney General Jeff Sessions addressed the Alliance Defending Freedom’s Summit on Religious Liberty last night, where he assured the Southern Poverty Law Center-labeled anti-LGBTQ hate group that they were, in fact, totally cool as far as he’s concerned.
“You are not a hate group,” Sessions declared, claiming that the term is simply a “weapon [wielded] against conservative organizations that refuse to accept their orthodoxy and choose instead to speak their conscience.”
In fact, the far-right Christian group has a long history of homophobia and transphobia, including pushing to legalize so-called “conversion therapy” of gay people, and backing the forced sterilization of transgender people in Europe.
That, apparently, is just fine for Sessions, who insisted that “groups like yours [...] fight for the religious freedom, the civil rights, and the constitutional rights of others.”
Oh, and he threw a very classy Harvey Weinstein “joke” in the mix, to boot:
Here in Georgia, there was a religious liberty bill proposed in the legislature. Those moral enforcers, Bob and Harvey Weinstein, were so offended that they threatened to stop filming their movies here. The people of Georgia don’t measure up to the Weinstein standard.
Harvey Weinstein is a horrible rapist, but more importantly, a cudgel with which to bash the LGBTQ community. Makes sense!
As Sessions noted later in his speech, he—on behalf of the Trump administration—recently created a “Religious Liberty Task Force” at the Department of Justice, dedicated to making sure groups like the ADF were able to push their reactionary agenda unimpeded.
Sessions isn’t the only friend in a high place that the ADF has. And as Lambda Legal noted last year, U.S. Court of Appeals Judge Amy Coney Barrett, a former shortlist candidate for the Supreme Court, once delivered a lecture paid for by the ADF.
And this isn’t the first time Sessions has spoken to the ADF. Last year when he addressed the group, he thought it appropriate to quote civil rights and social justice leader Martin Luther King Jr.. He neglected to mention, however, that Coretta Scott King, Martin Luther King Jr.’s widow, had staunchly opposed his nomination to the federal bench, for fear of the “devastating effect” it would have on “the progress we have made everywhere toward fulfilling my husband’s dream.”