Jeff Sessions consulted Christian right legal group on religious freedom memo

Attorney General Jeff Sessions consulted Alliance Defending Freedom, a legal advocacy group that champions conservative Christian causes, ahead of issuing controversial guidance to government agencies and departments on Friday about how to interpret federal religious liberty protections.

Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), a group whose stated mission is to “keep the doors open for the Gospel by advocating for religious liberty, the sanctity of life, and marriage and family,” hailed Sessions’ announcement, while a number of leading LGBT advocacy groups condemned the move for effectively offering a religious exemption for sexual orientation discrimination.

In a call with reporters, ADF CEO Michael Farris confirmed to ABC News that Sessions met with the group during a series of so-called “listening sessions” convened by the Attorney General, who says he was “seeking suggestions regarding the areas of federal protection for religious liberty most in need of clarification or guidance.”

Farris, who took over as CEO and general counsel of ADF in January, also lauded President Donald Trump for fulfilling a campaign promise.

“I commend the president for taking another step to honor his campaign promise to make religious liberty his ‘first priority’ by directing the Department of Justice to issue this guidance, which simply directs the federal government to adhere to its legal and constitutional obligation to respect existing religious freedom protections,” wrote Farris in a statement.

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