Jeff Sessions has officially been confirmed as Attorney General of the Unites States. As someone who has repeatedly launched hateful attacks, laws, and rhetoric on marginalized communities, the citizens of this country should be deeply concerned about their civil rights.
1. He Has Consistently Opposed Marriage Equality.
This includes voting in support of a constitutional ban on marriage equality, co-sponsoring a bill that would have allowed the state definition of marriage to supersede the federal definition, and even after the Supreme Court decision in Obergefell, he continued to persist in denying equal rights to same-sex couples by co-sponsoring the First Amendment Defense Act. This bill, which President Trump has promised to sign, is an extreme piece of legislation and would open the door to individuals and organizations to discriminate against LGBT people based on religious beliefs.
2. He Believes the LGBT Community Doesn’t Experience Discrimination.
In the past, he has said that he did not see the LGBT population as experiencing discrimination. He voted against the Employment Non-Discrimination Act and the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, the official military policy that barred lesbian, bisexual and gay members of the military from openly serving their country.
3. He Opposes Hate Crime Legislation.
Sessions voted against the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act twice, and voted against the Violence Against Women Act, which included the first ever non-discrimination protections on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. When asked why he voted against the Hate Crimes Prevention Act, Sessions responded: “It is better to study [the issue].”
4. He Has a History of Voting and Acting Against Civil Rights.
This includes extreme policies in regards to immigration detention and enforcement, and serious questions about certain cases he chose to prosecute while a U.S Attorney in Alabama. He has also gone so far as to call the Voting Rights Act of 1965, one of the most critical laws in the civil rights movement, ensuring that Black Americans could participate in their right to vote, a “piece of intrusive legislation.” In response, Coretta Scott King wrote a letter to Sessions in 1986.
Attorney General Sessions, we hope your future does not follow your past. We are counting on you to uphold full equality under the law.
Please take the 100 Days and Me pledge to stay informed, be vigilant, and help fight federal policies and legislation that threaten the safety, health and well-being of LGBT people.
February 8, 2017