The Human Rights Campaign Opposes the Nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court

by Nick Morrow

WASHINGTON -- Today, the Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation’s largest lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer (LGBTQ) civil rights organization, announced its opposition to President Trump’s nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court of the United States.

“Never in the history of our movement have we had more at stake as a community, or as a country,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “Since the moment he stepped foot in the Oval Office, President Trump has attacked equality. He has signed executive orders that undermine our country’s most cherished values and appointed anti-LGBTQ cabinet nominees who have spent their careers undermining civil rights. And now, he has nominated Judge Gorsuch to the Supreme Court, fulfilling his campaign promise to nominate a justice in the mold of Antonin Scalia, one of the most vehemently anti-LGBTQ justices to ever sit on the court who once went so far as to compare gay people to murderers. The Supreme Court has played a central role in advancing the promise of equality for LGBTQ Americans, and Judge Gorsuch’s anti-equality record -- from opposing crucial medical treatment for a transgender person to supporting a license to discriminate for private corporations -- make him unfit to sit on the nation’s highest court. We cannot afford a justice who will roll back our rights, or who will be a rubber stamp for Donald Trump’s unconstitutional actions. And America cannot afford to have Judge Gorsuch on the Supreme Court. We oppose this nomination.”

Gorsuch has a long and troubling career opposing civil rights, including for LGBTQ people:

  • Gorsuch called marriage equality part of the liberal social agenda, saying. “American liberals have become addicted to the courtroom… as the primary means of effecting their social agenda on everything from gay marriage to assisted suicide…”
  • He joined the Tenth Circuit’s decision in Hobby Lobby v. Sebelius, which asserted that  that some private corporations are “people” under federal law and have a right to deny basic healthcare coverage if it violates their religious belief.  This expansive ruling could allow employers to deny transgender employees access to hormone treatment, access to birth control and other crucial health care for LGBTQ people.
  • Hobby Lobby could have negative long-term consequences beyond health care for the LGBTQ community. There are those who are already trying to use the decision to support discrimination against LGBTQ workers.
  • In 2015, Gorsuch joined a ruling against a transgender woman who was denied consistent access to hormone therapy while incarcerated. The ruling dismissed the prisoner’s claims that the denial of care amounted to cruel and unusual punishment under the U.S. Constitution.
  • He has advocated for eliminating Chevron deference, a critical administrative law doctrine that allows our federal system of regulations to function, which could result in the significant loss protections for LGBTQ people.

Given this record, HRC has taken the extraordinary step of opposing this Supreme Court nominee prior to his confirmation hearing -- a first for the organization. Donald Trump used recommendations from the Heritage Foundation, a staunchly conservative and anti-equality think tank, to create a shortlist of candidates for the seat on the Court -- an organization that has fought every LGBTQ equality case that has come before the Supreme Court. Judge Gorsuch’s record, coupled with Trump’s discriminatory executive actions, his other, troubling appointees, and the campaign promise to appoint a justice in the mold of Antonin Scalia leaves no room for us to doubt that his pick will be negative for the LGBTQ community.

We cannot afford a Supreme Court justice who will be a rubber stamp for Donald Trump’s horrific actions. And because so many of the LGBTQ community’s hard-fought rights have been secured in the nation’s highest court:

  • Romer v. Evans (1996) which stopped states from forbidding nondiscrimination protections for LGBTQ people
  • Lawrence v. Texas (2003) invalidated laws criminalizing same-sex relationships
  • United States v. Windsor (2013) required federal recognition of same-sex marriages  
  • Obergefell v. Hodges (2015) brought nationwide marriage equality to every state

HRC opposes Judge Gorsuch’s nomination to the Supreme Court. We have no reason to believe he will be an advocate for LGBTQ Americans, and we urge senators to vote “no.”


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