'Judges who let personal bias affect decisions are bad for the country,' said HRC President Joe Solmonese.
WASHINGTON - The Human Rights Campaign today denounced the advancement of William Pryor's 11th Circuit Court of Appeals nomination after the Senate Judiciary Committee vote this morning. Pryor's nomination now moves on to a vote by the full Senate. HRC continues to vigorously oppose the Pryor nomination and calls upon all fair-minded senators to oppose the nomination when it is considered on the Senate floor.
"Judges who let personal bias affect decisions are bad for the country," said HRC President Joe Solmonese. "William Pryor actively sought opportunities to marginalize gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Americans throughout his career. It is very unlikely that he would set aside his personal views and make fair decisions as a federal judge."
More than 160 diverse and disparate groups, including the NAACP, the AFL-CIO, B'nai B'rith International, the Log Cabin Republicans, Family USA and the Environmental Law Foundation have formally opposed Pryor's nomination.
As Alabama's attorney general, Pryor used state resources to attack GLBT Americans in his state and across the country directly and indirectly. He linked the state attorney general's website to vehemently anti-GLBT groups, including the Family Research Council and the American Center for Law and Justice, which regularly litigates cases against GLBT rights. In contrast, his website does not make any links to groups that support GLBT civil rights.
"Judge Pryor used state resources to advance discrimination against some of Alabama's own citizens," said Solmonese. "We should not be rewarding prejudice with promotions."
Although most states with sodomy statutes on their books did not file briefs in defense of their laws, Pryor filed an amicus ("friend of the court") brief in Lawrence v. Texas, the Supreme Court case challenging Texas's sodomy law. Two states joined Alabama's amicus brief in supporting discriminatory state sodomy laws. Nine states with such laws on their books did not file briefs to defend their laws. Many briefs, one of which was signed by HRC, were filed to urge the court to strike down sodomy laws.
Pryor's brief likens homosexuality to incest, necrophilia, pedophilia, prostitution and adultery. He also argues in the brief that sodomy is a chosen behavior unworthy of constitutional protection, and fails to recognize GLBT individuals as people worthy of the same constitutional rights and protections that other Americans take for granted.
"Mr. Pryor's remarks are out of step with medical and scientific data, and even the understanding of most mainstream Americans who increasingly support equality under the law," said Solmonese. "This kind of bias should not be rewarded with a lifelong appointment to the federal bench. HRC is calling on the Senate to oppose this nomination, which is an affront to all fair-minded Americans."
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