Jeff Sessions Promises to Uphold ‘Statutes’ Protecting LGBT People. What Statutes? There Are Almost None.


It's a Great Line. It Says Almost Nothing.

U.S. Senator Jeff Sessions (R-AL) during Tuesday morning's Judiciary Committee hearing on his nomination to become attorney general went so far as to promise he would even support federal laws protecting LGBT people. 

"I understand the demands for justice and fairness made by the LGBT community," Sen. Sessions told the Judiciary Committee today. "I will ensure that the statutes protecting their rights and their safety are fully enforced."

It's a great line. It says almost nothing.

Poll after poll after poll shows that about seven out of ten Americans believe there already is a federal law banning employers from firing LGBT people for being LGBT. The vast majority of Americans support a nondiscrimination law banning employers from firing people for being LGBT.

But the simple fact is that no such law at the federal level exists. There is no ENDA, the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, that has been introduced in Congress in one form or another in nearly every Congress since 1994, and similar bills have been introduced going back to 1974. They have never reached a President's desk.

Sen. Sessions also said same-sex marriage is settled law and he would uphold the U.S. Supreme Court's Obergefell ruling, but he was not asked about related issues, such as adoption rights of LGBT people, or religious extremism, or state and local public accommodation laws that ban discrimination against LGBT people. Nor was he asked about the First Amendment Defense Act, an unconstitutional anti-LGBT bill being pushed by conservatives in the House and Senate. 

Some more responses via Twitter:

You can respond directly to Sen. Jeff Sessions by sending your comments to him on Twitter: @SenatorSessions and @jeffsessions.
Senator Chuck Grassley, Chairman of the Senate Judiciary Committee, is on Twitter: @ChuckGrassley.
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