LGBT and civil rights advocacy groups condemn confirmation of Jeff SessionsAround the Nation, Editorial, Online Only, Top Highlights Thursday, February 9th, 2017
Following yesterdays Senate vote to confirm Sen. Jeff Sessions as U.S. Attorney General, LGBT and civil rights groups were quick to condemn his confirmation.
The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) said that Donald Trump’s choice of Jeff Sessions to lead the United States Department of Justice places civil rights and equality in jeopardy.
“It’s deeply disturbing that Jeff Sessions, who has demonstrated a clear animus against so many Americans — including the LGBTQ community, women and people of color — could be charged with running the very system of justice designed to protect them,” said Chad Griffin, President of the Human Rights Campaign. “The man now in charge of enforcing hate crimes protections doesn’t even think they should exist — or that LGBTQ people need them. The man now in charge of enforcing civil rights laws is a man who has a history of undermining the rights of African-American voters. Our message to Donald Trump and Jeff Sessions is this: we’re going to fight any attempt to roll back our rights with every resource that we have. We will not give one inch.”
Mark Snyder, director of communications for the Equality Federation said Sessions had a “… a record of opposing LGBTQ equality, making racist statements, and acting as a barrier to progress for people of color, women, immigrants and other communities.”
Wade Henderson, president and CEO of The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights said the Senate had made a grave mistake in confirming Jeff Sessions to be attorney general.
“Sessions’ hearing and record of failing to uphold America’s ideals of justice and equality for all show he is unfit to be our nation’s top law enforcement official,” said Henderson.”He has no place leading our nation’s enforcement of civil rights and voting rights laws or implementing our nation’s desperately needed reforms to policing.
“Confirming Sessions has jeopardized the equal and fair treatment of people of color, women, the LGBT community, people with disabilities, immigrants and refugees. Sessions has an extreme 30-year record of demonizing these communities and has built his career on disregarding the rule of law and fueling hostility towards the protection of civil rights. Sessions, an early cheerleader for Donald Trump, also failed to prove that he would serve as the people’s lawyer, not the president’s.
“Sessions’ nomination has been so toxic that Senate Republicans shamefully silenced Senator Elizabeth Warren Tuesday night when she tried to read a 30-year-old letter from Coretta Scott King on the Senate floor that opposed Sessions’ previous unsuccessful nomination for a federal judgeship. King had written that, as a federal prosecutor, Sessions used his power to ‘chill the free exercise of the vote by black citizens.’ Three decades later, nothing in Sessions’ record disproves her words.”
Rachel B. Tiven, CEO of Lambda Legal described the confirmation of Sessions a “travesty” saying, “The chief lawyer of the United States is now someone who has devoted his whole life to obstructing civil rights. He is a life-long opponent of the civil rights of LGBT people, people of color, women and immigrants. Sadly, we have no confidence in his commitment to enforcing the law and protecting the civil rights of everyone in this country.”
Cristóbal J. Alex, president of the Latino Victory Project said Sessions’ confirmation put civil rights in danger, “Senate Republicans need to know that by confirming Jeff Sessions as the next Attorney General of the United States, they are putting our civil rights in danger and making America unsafe for communities of color. Jeff Sessions supports mass deportation, a Muslim registry, and he would roll back progress on LGBTQ and voting rights. As we’ve seen throughout his career, his anti-immigrant and racist convictions will continue to guide his judgment and make him unable to protect all Americans equally. We have no reason to believe that he will serve as an independent attorney general. He is simply not fit to serve.”
HRC’s report: Jeff Sessions: A History of Anti-LGBTQ Actions, includes details about his extensive history of anti-LGBTQ lawmaking, including:
- Jeff Sessions has repeatedly supported laws that criminalize LGBTQ activity, using discriminatory laws to harrass LGBTQ Alabamans and blasting the Lawrence v. Texas decision, which finally ended the criminalization of same-sex relationships.
- Jeff Sessions supported the discriminatory “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and believed it was “pretty effective.”
- On marriage, Sessions co-sponsored and voted for the Federal Marriage Amendment, saying he would seek “again and again” to pass an amendment to the United States Constitution outlawing marriage equality in every state. Of the 2015 Obergefell ruling, Sessions said it “goes beyond what I consider to be the realm of reality.”
- Jeff Sessions has repeatedly opposed hate crimes protections for LGBTQ Americans — even attempting to insert a poison pill amendment to try to sink the 2009 Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act.
- Jeff Sessions has actively attempted to block some of the most effective methods of preventing HIV and other STIs–specifically safer sex education.
- Jeff Sessions once tried to terminate the National Endowment for the Arts based on its financial support for a lesbian filmmaker.
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