Los Angeles–In advance of U.S. Senate confirmation hearings for Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Alabama) as U.S. attorney general, Equality California Executive Director Rick Zbur issued the following statement:
“Sen. Jeff Sessions’ long record of disinterest in, at best, or outright hostility to protecting the civil rights of LGBT people, women and communities of color disqualifies him from serving as U.S. attorney general. His record has demonstrated that he is incapable of performing one of the chief duties of the office: ensuring that our nation’s civil and voting rights laws are enforced fairly and thoroughly.
Sessions’ contempt for the LGBT community is well documented. He is a current co-sponsor of the so-called First Amendment Defense Act (FADA), which would give businesses, landlords or even government agencies license to discriminate against LGBT people if an individual believes that doing so would violate his or her religious beliefs. He was a longtime supporter of efforts to amend the U.S. Constitution to ban marriage equality in all 50 states and supported federal legislation that would invalidate state laws permitting same-sex couples to marry. He opposed the repeal of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” and fought against federal laws protecting LGBT people from hate crimes. As Alabama attorney general, he continued fighting an LGBT conference on the campus of the University of Alabama even after a district court ruled that the conference could proceed.
In addition, Sessions has displayed hostility to women, opposing the reauthorization of the Violence Against Women Act; and to African-Americans, famously calling a black attorney ‘boy’ and suggesting that a white attorney representing black clients was a race traitor. Those comments disqualified him from serving as a federal judge in 1986 and similarly disqualify him from serving as U.S. attorney general today.
Sessions has a long history of deeds and statements that make it clear that he should not serve as the nation’s top law enforcement official. Equality California has taken the unusual step of opposing Sen. Sessions’ confirmation to head the U.S. Department of Justice because of the grave threat it would represent to the civil rights of LGBT people, women, communities of color and millions of other Americans. We request all members of the U.S. Senate to reject his nomination.”
Equality California is the nation’s largest statewide lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender civil rights organization dedicated to creating a fair and just society. Our mission is to achieve and maintain full and lasting equality, acceptance, and social justice for all people in our diverse LGBT communities, inside and outside of California. Our mission includes advancing the health and well-being of LGBT Californians through direct healthcare service advocacy and education. Through electoral, advocacy, education and mobilization programs, we strive to create a broad and diverse alliance of LGBT people, educators, government officials, communities of color and faith, labor, business, and social justice communities to achieve our goals. www.eqca.org