December 1, 2016 at 2:33 pm EDT | by Michael K. Lavers
LGBT groups sign letter opposing Sessions nomination
Jeff Sessions, United States Senate, Alabama, gay news, Washington Blade

U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.) (Washington Blade photo by Michael Key)

The Human Rights Campaign and the National LGBTQ Task Force are among the 144 civil rights organizations that have urged the U.S. Senate not to confirm U.S. Sen. Jeff Sessions (R-Ala.)’s nomination to become the country’s next attorney general.

The letter — which the Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights sent to Senate Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.), Senate Democratic Leader Harry Reid (D-Nev.), Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Chuck Grassley (R-Iowa) and Patrick Leahy (D-Vt.) on Thursday — notes Sessions opposed the 2009 law that added sexual orientation and gender identity to the federal hate crimes statute.

“This is particularly disturbing at a time when there have reportedly been more than 700 hate incidents committed in the weeks since the election,” reads the letter. “The next
attorney general must recognize that hate crimes exist, and vigorously investigate them.”

The letter notes Sessions supported a proposed constitutional amendment that would have banned same-sex marriage. It also indicates the Alabama Republican opposed the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell.”

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights notes the Senate Judiciary Committee in 1986 rejected Sessions’ nomination to serve on the U.S. District Court for the Southern District of Alabama because of what it describes in its letter as “compelling evidence” of his “deeply troubling record as an opponent of civil rights enforcement, a champion of voter suppression tactics targeting African Americans and a history of making racially-insensitive statements.”

Those who spoke against Sessions during his confirmation hearing said he described the NAACP and the American Civil Liberties Union as “un-American” and “Communist-inspired.” The Alabama Republican also has a documented history of referring to a black assistant U.S. attorney as “boy” and speaking favorably of the Ku Klux Klan.

“As you know, the attorney general is our nation’s highest law enforcement official, with a particular responsibility to protect the civil and human rights of all Americans,” reads the letter.

The letter notes Sessions is associated with groups the Alabama-based Southern Poverty Law Center has designated as hate groups. It also notes he supports voter ID laws that critics contend disenfranchise voters and has opposed abortion rights, among other issues.

“The collegiality that ordinarily governs Senate decorum is no substitute for, and must not supersede, the Senate’s profoundly important duty to vigorously and fairly review each nominee who comes before it,” reads the letter. “We believe that based on this review, there can be only one conclusion: Senator Sessions is the wrong person to serve as the U.S. attorney general.”

The Family Equality Council, GLSEN, the National Black Justice Coalition, the National Center for Lesbian Rights, the National Center for Transgender Equality, the National Queer Asian Pacific Islander Alliance, and the Trevor Project also signed onto the letter.

The Leadership Conference on Civil and Human Rights sent the letter to Senate leaders less than two weeks after President-elect Trump formally nominated Sessions to succeed current U.S. Attorney General Loretta Lynch.

Lynch in May filed a lawsuit against North Carolina over House Bill 2, which bans transgender people from using public restrooms that are consistent with their gender identity and prohibits local municipalities from enacting LGBT-inclusive nondiscrimination ordinances. The Justice and Education Departments under President Obama have told public schools they should allow trans students to use bathrooms that are consistent with their gender identity.

Trump said during the campaign that his administration would rescind this guidance.

The Washington Blade has reached out to the Trump transition team for comment.

Michael K. Lavers is the international news editor of the Washington Blade. Follow Michael

16 Comments
  • You’ll get no justice from this incoming administration. I said that if Trump got elected he’d pick a bad AG for LGBT that would be the opposite of Eric Holder and Loretta Lynch and it came to pass.

    It gets much worse after Trump and Pence get in and social conservatives start trying to ram their agenda down our throats! You’ll see. Start planning your march on Washington!

  • Bring it on little weaselman. Session’s, like his Party’s half century record of intolerance cannot be defended. Session’s is a typical Republican duplicitous weasel words Southern silver tongued dog whistling intolerant and intellectual light weight. As we have witnessed the 50 year Republican dog whistle of intolerance, since their cynical “Southern Strategy” success, finally became their long known loud siren song this election, Session’s being one of it’s, too clever by two, model practitioners.

    • Why are you lying?

      • Is that your broken record catchphrase question now?

        Tattoo it to your forehead
        Next to In deep denial!

        • Just call it like I see it.

          • That isn’t saying much Helen Keller!!

          • Perhaps you haven’t yet heard the news but your woman lost. Obama lost. The Democrats lost the Senate and House. Democrats lost total control of all but 4 state houses and governorships. The Democrat Party has ceased being a national party and now can barely be called regional retaining only a few crime ridden cities. And now to seal their fate Democrats reelected Nancy Pelosi and are on the verge of choosing a radical muslim to be party chairman! Happy days are here again!

          • Perhaps you haven’t heard troll that we aren’t sheep and going to accept the status quo anymore than you did when Obama and the Dems controlled it all! Life is a pendulum. What swings one way swings back again.

            People have short memories. When they see the damage and failure of the Trump Administration, and the GOP congress with it’s misguided priorities that hurt the poor and middle class rather than help, things will change again in favor the the Dems. It’s not if but when!

            Perhaps you haven’t heard the Trump didn’t win the popular vote so he didn’t get a mandate! Hillary won it by a margin greater than any US presidential candidate in history! That’s why the GOP opposes eliminating the electoral college and replacing it with the popular vote! You were energized this time and Dems took too much for granted. Don’t bank on the same mistakes! Besides the GOP has majority control of the House thanks to Gerrymandering! Known fact!

          • Get your ignorant hands on a copy of the Constitution of the United States and check out Article II Section I. How will you ever cope if Mr. Trump is successful?

          • Get your smug arrogant head out of trump’s rear end and get some air!!

            Trump being successful means the country would be going down hill with your screwed up
            Policies! People would soon rebel in anger to change things just like your ilk did on obamacare!

            Interest rates are going up and many economists are predicting recession. A bad economy would be under trump’s watch and since the economy is strong now he can’t blame it on Obama! Let’s see you cope then!

          • See me in four years.

          • See me in two for mid term elections when people put a break on trump’s damage!

            Tax reform is corporate welfare by giving them a 20% tax cut while eliminating or significantly reducing popular deductions like mortgage interest for people! You’ll have to pay for it somehow and one way is Paul Ryan’s plan to destroy Medicare and replace it with a lost voucher system! In essence more financial burden on seniors!

            Then he wants tariffs for China leading to trade wars that hurt us export businesses like Boeing!

            Don’t waste my time with your denials!

          • It’s a date but please shower and use deodorant first.

          • I’m cleaner than you conservatives as I wash in places you people are afraid of!

            You should talk with what’s on your face after having your head so deep up the Donald’s rear end!

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