Administration

Justice Dept. won’t release Sessions’s remarks to anti-LGBT group

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The Justice Department is refusing to release Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s address to a religious organization during a closed-door event on Tuesday evening, according to reports.

The Daily Beast, CNN and ABC News all reported the Justice Department declined to release Sessions’s remarks to members of the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF) during the “Summit on Religious Liberty” in Dana Point, Calif.

The Hill has reached out to the Justice Department for comment.

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The summit, which began on Sunday and ends Thursday, includes business executives, legal advocates, scholars, church leaders and cultural commentators “to examine the current state of religious freedom” and plans to “develop legal and cultural strategies to allow freedom to flourish in the United States and around the world,” according to the event’s website.

The event doesn’t list speakers on its online schedule, and Sessions’s remarks were closed to the press.

The religious organization, which has been labeled an “anti-LGBT hate group” by the Southern Poverty Law Center, has faced controversy before.

The religious organization fired back at the Southern Poverty Law Center’s “hate group” assessment.

“ADF works every day to preserve and affirm free speech and the free exercise of religion for people from all walks of life and all backgrounds because we believe freedom is for everyone,” a spokesman said in a statement to The Hill.

The ADF is representing baker Jack Phillips, who is pushing back on Colorado’s nondiscrimination protections after he refused to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex marriage in 2012, citing his religious objections.

The Supreme Court agreed in June to hear the case.

The ADF is a vocal opponent of same-sex marriage, saying on its website that it “remains committed to promoting in law and culture the truth that marriage is the lifelong union of a man and a woman,” and “a proper view of marriage helps to pull the economically disadvantaged out of poverty, giving hope to the marginalized and downtrodden.”

– This report was updated July 13 at 4:46 p.m.

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