Yeomans: Sessions’s LGBTQ Distraction

Press Release


Washington, D.C., October 25, 2017 – In the latest edition of Yeomans Work, AFJ’s Ronald Goldfarb Fellow for Justice Bill Yeomans highlights Attorney General Jeff Sessions’s cynical attempt to distract from his loathsome record on LGBTQ rights, by announcing a DOJ  lawyer would travel to Iowa to help prosecute an anti-LGBTQ hate crime.

In “Jeff Sessions and the Art of Distraction,” Yeomans writes:

“On the eve of Jeff Sessions’s oversight testimony before the Senate Judiciary Committee, the Department of Justice announced that it was sending a civil rights prosecutor to Iowa to assist in the state prosecution of Jorge Sanders-Galvez for killing Kedarie Johnson in March 2016. Johnson identified as both male and female and the prosecution’s theory is that Sanders-Galvez was motivated by Johnson’s sexual orientation and/or gender identity. Sessions’s announcement demonstrated that he has learned the art of distraction from his boss.

“The Justice Department release was timed to defuse criticism that Sessions expected at the hearing on his civil rights record generally, and most pointedly on his record regarding LGBTQ issues.”

In reality, Yeomans points out, the Justice Department under Sessions has worked to turn back the clock on LGBTQ rights. Since becoming Attorney General, Sessions has fought the right of transgender students to use facilities that correspond to their gender identity.  He has disregarded holdings by courts of appeals asserting that Title VII of the Civil Rights Act prohibits employment discrimination based on sexual orientation. And the list goes on.

Yeomans concludes: “So, when Jeff Sessions issues an attention-grabbing announcement that he will pursue a criminal civil rights prosecution, thank him, but don’t be distracted from his department’s failure to enforce all of the civil rights laws in a manner that will promote true equality and dismantle systemic subordination that underlies the need for criminal civil rights prosecutions.”

Bill Yeomans is available for interviews: contact Laurie Kinney at laurie@afj.org