In an interview with the Christian Broadcasting Network, Attorney General Jeff Sessions spelled out what the Trump administration has been broadcasting for months. They think LGBTQ people are second class citizens.
When interviewer David Brody asked Sessions about a hypothetical “Christian baker” who didn’t want to make a wedding cake for a gay or lesbian couple, Sessions was quick to defend discrimination.
A case involving a baker who refused service to a gay couple is currently before the US Supreme Court, but don’t expect the DOJ to back civil rights. Under Sessions leadership, the government department has already argued that neither gay nor transgender people have employment protections under federal law, took away trans nondiscrimination rights for its own employees, and issued a radically expansive definition of “religious freedom” that would give business owners a license to discriminate against minority groups.
“Is it the Department of Justice’s view that cake bakers… these Christian bakers, is it the view of the Department of Justice from a guidance perspective, not law, I understand law is different, that they have a right, if you will, to not sell a cake to someone if they’re having a gay wedding?” Brody asks. “Is that what the Department of Justice is saying as it relates to the guidance that they put out?”
“Well what I would say to you now, while the matter is in litigation, but I would just say to you that too often we have ignored what the Constitution actually says,” Session replied. “It says Congress shall make no law respecting the establishment of a religion nor prohibiting the free exercise thereof. So the question is, the cake baker has more than just a personal view here. He has a religious view and he feels that he is not being able to freely exercise his religion by being required to participate in a ceremony in some fashion that he does not believe in.”
“So we think that right is a fundamental right and ought to be respected as we work through this process. Of course in the 1990’s we passed a religious freedom restoration act that said the government should not constrict a person’s religious belief without a compelling reason to do so. So we think that statute has been ignored too often and not respected sufficiently. And so when you consider those two things, then you’re getting not only greater protection for people’s religious beliefs, that I think should be given.”