UPDATE, JULY 13, 1:38 P.M.: Hey, you know the bit in the original post below from ABC News? The Alliance Defending Freedom, which hosted Attorney General Jeff Sessions in Dana Point Tuesday night, now accuses ABC News of “abandonment of objectivity in repeating false accusations against ADF made by the ultra-partisan Southern Poverty Law Center” and calls on the network, “for the sake of its own integrity,” to “issue an apology to Alliance Defending Freedom and retract the defamatory story it published Wednesday.”
“ABC News has committed journalistic malpractice,” says ADF Legal Counsel and Director of Communications Kerri Kupec in a statement. “For ABC News to essentially cut and paste false charges against Alliance Defending Freedom by a radically left-wing, violence-inciting organization like Southern Poverty Law Center is a discredit to ABC News and to the profession. Americans’ trust in media is cratering, and the blatant bias and lack of professionalism that ABC attempted to pass off as news can only serve to confirm and intensify that distrust.
“Alliance Defending Freedom is one of the most respected and successful Supreme Court advocates in the legal profession, having won seven cases at the high court in the last seven years. Southern Poverty Law Center spends its time and money attacking veterans, nuns, Muslims who oppose terrorism, Catholics, evangelicals and anyone else who dares disagree with its far-left ideology. Meanwhile, 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.”
ORIGINAL POST, JULY 12, 12:30 P.M.: Attorney General Jeff Sessions is catching heat today for remarks he reportedly made in Dana Point Tuesday night to a reputed “anti-LGBT hate group.”
The Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC) had urgently alerted the Weekly to the private, closed-door Summit on Religious Liberty that the Alliance Defending Freedom held at the Ritz-Carlton Laguna Niguel.
We obviously could not get in and neither could members of the national media, who were also stymied when it came to what Sessions, the top law enforcement official in the land, discussed at the event. From ABC News:
A spokesperson for the Department of Justice confirmed that Sessions addressed the Alliance Defending Freedom on Tuesday but did not respond to multiple requests to release his remarks. The Department of Justice released a transcript of remarks he delivered in Dallas earlier on Tuesday and a transcript of remarks he delivered in Las Vegas on Wednesday, but a transcript of his address to the Alliance Defending Freedom has yet to be released.
The SPLC—which knows a thing or three about Orange County-style hatin’—says the Alliance Defending Freedom “specializes in supporting the recriminalization of homosexuality abroad, ending same-sex marriage and generally making life as difficult as possible for LGBT communities in the U.S. and internationally.”
The alliance, a legal advocacy group founded in Scottsdale, Arizona, in 1994, that denies it is a hate group, most recently came to prominence for representing the Colorado baker challenging the state’s nondiscrimination protections after he was found in violation of the law for refusing to bake a wedding cake for a same-sex couple. The U.S. Supreme Court agreed in June to review the case.
About all we know about the alliance’s Orange County event, whose location was not released publicly ahead of time, is it intended to “bring together prominent legal advocates, scholars, cultural commentators, business executives and church leaders to examine the current state of religious freedom” and “develop legal and cultural strategies to allow freedom to flourish in the United States and around the world.”
A spokesperson for the group claims it is “working through channels” to release Sessions’ remarks but declined to comment on the nature of the AG’s relationship with the Alliance Defending Freedom.
Matt Coker has been engaging, enraging and entertaining readers of newspapers, magazines and websites for decades. He spent the first 13 years of his career in journalism at daily newspapers before “graduating” to OC Weekly in 1995 as the paper’s first calendar editor. He went on to be managing editor, executive editor and is now senior staff writer.