Washington, DC–(ENEWSPF)–December 2, 2016
If you’re wondering how Attorney General Jeff Sessions would use his powerful perch to defend civil rights, here’s a telling example from Andrew Kaczynski:
As Alabama’s attorney general in 1996, Sessions attempted to stop the Southeastern Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual College Conference from meeting at the University of Alabama under a state law passed in 1992 that made it illegal for public universities to fund in any way a group that promotes “actions prohibited by the sodomy and sexual misconduct laws.”
The stated mission of the Southeastern Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual College Conference was to educate and start a dialogue about the LGBT community. Scheduled events at the conference included a workshop on coming out, an interfaith panel of LGBT issues, a discussion on preventing STDs, and discussions on the Internet and substance abuse.
After a university spokesperson reminded Sessions that the gathering was protected free speech under the First Amendment, Sessions doubled down.
At a news conference reported by multiple news outlets at the time, he said he might try to get a court order to stop the conference. Several days later, a federal judge struck down Alabama’s 1992 law as unconstitutional.
Sessions was defiant.
“I intend to do everything I can to stop that conference,” Sessions said, according to the Huntsville Times. “The Legislature gave serious thought to trying to craft a statute that passed muster,” Sessions added. “And I believe that my responsibility is to defend the laws of the Legislature.”
Fortunately, Sessions failed to stay the judge’s injunction of the law and ultimately failed to stop the conference. But he succeeded in boosting attendance after drawing gobs of attention to the gathering.
“It was probably better attended than it would have been. So, in some ways what they did backfired,” said Cathy Lopez Wessel, a conference organizer told CNN.
Still, she said she had been caught off guard at the resistance. “What really struck me was that this seemed clearly to be about free speech and peaceable assembly. I feel like Jeff Sessions used the full power of his office position to deny a student group the right to have a conference.”
So ends the tale of how Jeff Sessions used every tool at his disposal to block First Amendment freedoms on a college campus.
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