As President Trump Names Supreme Court Nominee, Senators Must Consider Dignity for LGBTQ Americans

By Shane Stahl • July 9, 2018 • 9:10 pm

On Monday, July 9, President Donald Trump nominated D.C. Circuit Court Judge Brett Kavanaugh as Associate Justice of the United States Supreme Court. The judge has been nominated to fill the vacancy left by Justice Anthony Kennedy’s retirement in June. The nomination is Trump’s second opportunity in two years to fill a Supreme Court seat, following the confirmation of Justice Neil Gorsuch in 2017.

Kavanaugh – who previously worked in the George W. Bush administration – hasn’t weighed in explicitly on high-profile issues related to LGBTQ nondiscrimination, though the rabidly anti-LGBTQ Family Research Council has in the past lavished praise on his judicial record. Kavanaugh’s nomination comes at a critical moment for the LGBTQ community: More Americans than ever before support ensuring LGBTQ people are treated fairly and equally under the law, and a growing number of court cases are affirming the importance of nondiscrimination protections.

Freedom For All Americans CEO Masen Davis said in a statement:

“A supermajority of Americans from all walks of life support treating LGBTQ people fairly and equally under our laws. Lawmakers on Capitol Hill should do what they know is right and only confirm a Supreme Court nominee who has demonstrated a commitment to our nation’s founding values. There is too much at stake for lawmakers to simply give this seat away without a thorough and thoughtful vetting process.”

Any number of LGBTQ-related issues could land before the Supreme Court in the coming years, including whether anti-LGBTQ employment and housing discrimination is prohibited under federal law, the validity of exemptions from nondiscrimination laws that allow a special ‘License to Discriminate’ for businesses, the dignity of transgender students in schools, and the constitutionality of the Trump-Pence transgender military ban.

In recent years a growing consensus has been building in the lower courts – including decisions from multiple federal appellate courts – that federal laws prohibiting discrimination based on sex also prohibit discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. A Supreme Court appointment hostile to the dignity of LGBTQ Americans, however, could undermine and overrule that consensus. The progress Americans have seen for the LGBTQ community both in the courts and in the court of public opinion, should be maintained. To read more about what is at stake with this nomination, click here to read our in-depth blog on LGBTQ issues that could soon reach the Supreme Court.

With a number of cases currently in federal courts that involve LGBTQ people, it is essential that Judge Kavanaugh is held to the highest standard by the Senate on LGBTQ rights and dignity. To view cases currently pending in federal courts, click here to visit our litigation page.

According to the Pew Research Center, Americans who strongly favor the freedom to marry outnumber those who strongly oppose it by more than a two-to-one margin (30% vs. 14%), and a supermajority of Americans overall support the freedom to marry for same-sex couples. Six in ten Americans oppose allowing a small business owner in their state to refuse products or services to LGBTQ people if providing them would violate their religious beliefs; additionally, 70 percent of Americans are broadly supportive of laws that would protect LGBTQ people against discrimination in housing, employment, and public accommodations. With such strong support among the American people, it is imperative that the next Associate Justice of the U.S. Supreme Court embraces the dignity and humanity of LGBTQ people. 

The next step in the confirmation process will be hearings before the U.S. Senate, and the nominee must be confirmed by a simple majority of Senators. Freedom For All Americans encouraging urges all supporters of LGBTQ nondiscrimination to contact their Senators and demand that all Senators hold Judge Kavanaugh accountable on the many issues important to the LGBTQ community. 

Click here to add your voice by messaging your Senators and telling them how important LGBTQ issues are to you in this process.

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