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.
Sessions: I will ensure civil rights protections for African-Americans, women and LGBT people if attorney general https://t.co/eNEbpB1Ly7— NBC News (@NBCNews) January 10, 2017
"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.
Please Is this first time Sessions has said “LGBT”? & what statutes? We have no protections beyond hate crimes law, which he voted against.— Mike Signorile (@MSignorile) January 10, 2017
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.
The loophole in Sessions's comment is that there isn’t a blanket federal LGBT nondiscrimination “statute” like civil rights laws. https://t.co/QttK4VrKiI— Dominic Holden (@dominicholden) January 10, 2017
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.
What Attorney General nominee Jeff Sessions just testified about LGBT rights vs. the anti-LGBT stance his actual record shows. pic.twitter.com/Edob0EQH0y— Cassie Dagostino (@casatino) January 10, 2017
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:
The LGBT question I’d ask Sessions: Do you think bans on sex discrimination also ban discrimination on the basis of gender identity?— Dominic Holden (@dominicholden) January 10, 2017
This question is critical for the next Justice Dept — does he think existing civil rights laws already ban transgender discrimination? https://t.co/jIqyA0st6i— Dominic Holden (@dominicholden) January 10, 2017
In 2009(!), Sessions said that hate crimes protections for LGBT people “cheapen the civil rights movement.” https://t.co/MmzRh23E2d— Matt McDermott (@mattmfm) January 10, 2017
Sessions, who said LGBT people don't face discrimination, says he'll protect them from discrimination. https://t.co/POxxAliY92— Adam Smith (@asmith83) January 10, 2017
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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