HRC to Senate: Reject the Confirmation of William Barr for U.S. Attorney General

by HRC Staff

HRC reiterated its call for the U.S. Senate to reject William Barr’s confirmation to U.S. attorney general.

Ahead of the full Senate’s vote on the confirmation of William Barr to be Attorney General of the United States, HRC — reiterated its call for the U.S. Senate to reject Barr’s confirmation. As Attorney General, Barr would continue the Trump-Pence administration’s biased and negligent approach to enforcing laws impacting LGBTQ people.  

“William Barr has made clear that as Attorney General he would not defend and uphold civil rights laws for all Americans — including LGBTQ people,” said HRC Government Affairs Director David Stacy. “From his deeply disturbing opposition to nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ people to his record of undermining HIV and AIDS prevention, treatment and awareness -- Barr would perpetuate Jeff Sessions’ work to license discrimination and double down on the Trump-Pence administration’s harmful attacks on the LGBTQ community. The Senate must reject Barr’s confirmation, and Senators must make clear to the Trump-Pence White House that they will only confirm a nominee who will treat all Americans equally and with the dignity and fairness they deserve.”

In a previously released letter, HRC Government Affairs Director David Stacy made clear that the next Attorney General must promote equality for all Americans by vigorously enforcing federal civil rights laws that so critically protect those most vulnerable to discrimination. Read that letter in full here.

William Barr has a disturbing record of hostility towards nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ people. He has been a vocal supporter of former Attorney General Jeff Sessions’ memo sanctioning religious-based discrimination and the Justice Department’s interpretation of provisions under Title VII and Title IX to exclude transgender people from nondiscrimination protections. Barr also advocated against interpreting federal laws to include gender identity or sexual orientation — disregarding the holdings of more than 40 federal courts in the last 20 years.  

Barr also has a disturbing record of undermining HIV and AIDS prevention, treatment and awareness. Barr created an “HIV prison camp” in Guantanamo Bay in 1991, which reportedly held 310 asylum-seekers in dire conditions without adequate healthcare. He also promoted a draconian approach to the federal government’s role in responding to the HIV/AIDS epidemic, including opposing the adoption of proven methods of prevention and access to treatment. Barr blamed AIDS and other sexual transmitted infections on “sexual licentiousness,” calling them “the costs associated with personal misconduct.” He disputed public health efforts to inform the American people about the transmission and prevention of HIV and AIDS, opposing public health interventions, such as the distribution of condoms, because “by removing the costs of [sexual] misconduct, the government serves to perpetuate it.”