Jeff Sessions joins anti-LGBTQ Heritage Foundation in a closed door meeting

Earlier this week, the Department of Justice argued alongside the Alliance Defending Freedom, an anti-LGBTQ hate group, to undermine LGBTQ non-discrimination protections

NEW YORK – GLAAD, the world’s largest LGBTQ media advocacy organization, today distributed research on the anti-LGBTQ record of the Heritage Foundation and their deep connections within the Trump Administration in response to Jeff Sessions’ closed-door drug policy roundtable with the organization. The drug policy roundtable, which will take place this morning, was announced by the Heritage Foundation on Wednesday. This Tuesday, the Jeff Sessions’ Department of Justice joined the Southern Poverty Law Center designated anti-LGBTQ hate group, Alliance Defending Freedom, at the Supreme Court oral arguments for Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado Civil Rights Commission to defend a Colorado baker who denied service an LGBTQ couple.
"The public is being actively shut out of a meeting between two insidious forces of the anti-LGBTQ agenda, Jeff Sessions and the Heritage Foundation," said Sarah Kate Ellis, President and CEO of GLAAD. "This continues Sessions’ disturbing pattern of courting organizations who use hatred and fear mongering to target the rights of LGBTQ people and the marginalized communities we lock arms with.”

Previous Heritage Foundation panels have included speakers pushing fringe and discredited talking points about trans and gender non-conforming youth and defending the dangerous and unscientific practice of so-called “conversion therapy.” Additionally, former Heritage Foundation staffer Roger Severino has been credited with helping champion the Trump Administration’s so-called “religious exemptions” in healthcare from his post as the head of the Health and Human Services’ Civil Rights Office.

This meeting represents Sessions’ second time personally addressing the Heritage Foundation, who also hosted President Trump this October, in the last fifty days. Read more about Jeff Sessions’ own extensive anti-LGBTQ record via GLAAD’s Trump Accountability Project.

 BACKGROUND INFORMATION: Heritage Foundation’s Anti-LGBTQ Activism

  • Hosted a “gender dysphoria in children” panel rooted in the rejection of trans youth that featured a panelist from the fringe, discredited, extremely anti-LGBTQ American College of Pediatricians [October 2017].
  • Published a report (co-authored by Roger Severino) that targeted the trans inclusive non-discrimination protections under Section 1557 of the Affordable Care Act, arguing that it would threaten “freedom of conscience and the independence of physicians [January 2016].
  • Heritage panelist defended the discredited and dangerous practice of so-called “conversion therapy” therapy [March 2015].
  • Attacked NJ Gov. Chris Christie for banning so-called conversion therapy for LGBTQ youth in an article authored by senior research fellow Ryan Anderson [September 2013].
  • Argued against LGBTQ inclusive employment non-discrimination protections by targeting the trans community: “Finally, especially related to issues surrounding “gender identity” and “transgender” employees, this law could require employment policies that, with regard to a number of workplace conditions, undermine common sense.” [November 2013].
  • Peddled a very flawed and discredited anti-LGBTQ Regnerus study that argued, against the consensus of social scientists and profession child welfare groups, that children of gay parents are worse than those raised by two parents of the opposite sex [June 2012].
  • Came out against the Employment Non-Discrimination Act arguing that it workplace protections for LGBTQ workers is a step for marriage equality [September 2009].
  • Argued that legislators should not “appease” the LGBTQ community by allowing even civil unions because it would open the door to full LGBTQ equality: “It's time to hold accountable those lawmakers who have opened the door for this court ruling by trying to appease homosexual rights activists with laws that allow civil unions. You cannot have peace at any price with those who seek to conquer and vanquish our values.” [May 2008].

BACKGROUND INFORMATION: Heritage Foundation’s Connections to the Trump White House

  • Trump appointed anti-LGBTQ activist and former Heritage Foundation employee, Roger Severino, to lead the Health and Human Services Civil Rights Office.
  • Trump nominated Heritage Foundation’s Former Chief of Staff and Assistant to the President, Mark Esper, for Secretary of the Army.
  • Trump hosted a private dinner with Heritage Foundation founder Ed Feulner.
  • Heritage materials hosted on the official White House website by Heritage Foundation's Senior Legal Fellow, Hans von Spakovsky, who was selected to spearhead the Commission on Election Integrity tasked with investigating Trump’s unsubstantiated allegations that “millions of people” voted illegally in the 2016 election.
  • Heritage Foundation fellows appointed to roles as Director of the National Institute of Justice at the Department of Justice and Deputy Director of the Office of Personnel Management.