Trump Supreme Court prospects put LGBTQ Americans in jeopardy

In just one week, LGBTQ Americans have seen the new Trump administration hire the top defender for North Carolina’s HB2 to head up the Civil Rights Division of the Department of Justice. All references and issues important to the LGBTQ community have been left off key Trump Administration websites, including the White House and Department of Education. Finally, President Trump’s top spokesperson said, “he didn’t know” if the president would issue executive orders to peel back important rights for LGBTQ Americans.

But wait, there’s more to come. President Donald Trump has said that next Thursday he will make his U.S. Supreme Court nomination announcement. This is the same Supreme Court vacancy anti-LGBTQ Congressional leaders declined to fill during the last year of President Obama’s presidency.

President Trump has already hinted at which judges made the final cut and his apparent finalists are a clear and present danger to the LGBTQ community. These men either have a history of advocating for anti-LGBTQ rhetoric or supporting candidates that are in favor of open discrimination against people and families who simply want to be treated the same as everyone else.

From William Pryor’s unwillingness to be around LGBTQ families on a Disney vacation to Neil Gorsuch’s opinion that judges should always “focus backward” when issuing their opinions, each potential nominee would be poised to adhere to the anti-LGBTQ rhetoric and record quickly becoming a hallmark of this Trump Administration.

GLAAD's Trump Accountability Project is tracking the records of the likely nominees to ensure journalists and newsmakers have the tools they need to report the truth. Here’s what we know.

Neil Gorsuch – Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Tenth Circuit

  • Has argued that certain minority civil rights issues, like marriage equality, should be settled through elections or legislatures, not the courts.
  • In lower court decisions in the famous Hobby Lobby and Little Sisters of the Poor cases, Gorsuch signaled willingness to allow religious employers to use their personal beliefs to sidestep federal law.
  • SCOTUSBlog describes him as “an ardent defender of religious liberties and pluralistic accommodations for religious adherents” and “a natural successor to Scalia in adopting a pro-religion conception of the establishment clause.”
  • As Columbia student in mid ’80s, defended keeping military recruiters on campus despite the military’s discriminatory stance on LGBTQ soldiers.

Thomas Hardiman - Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Third Circuit

William Pryor - Judge of the United States Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit

  • Filed an amicus brief urging the US Supreme Court to uphold the criminalization of consensual gay sex. In the brief, which he filed in his capacity as Attorney General of Texas, he and fellows argued that a ruling decriminalizing gay sex “must logically extend to activities like prostitution, adultery, necrophilia, bestiality, possession of child pornography, and even incest and pedophilia.”
  • Reportedly decried Romer v. Evans, a holding which merely allowed LGBTQ individuals to seek protection from discrimination, as establishing “new rules for political correctness.”
  • Cast a deciding vote against reviewing Florida’s discriminatory adoption statute.
  • Admitted his family rescheduled a trip to Disney World because the original plans coincided with Gay Days at the park, calling it a “value judgement.”

We are working to protect LGBTQ Americans from discrimination and hate. You can get involved by taking a moment to sign up for the official GLAAD Rapid Response team. We need your eyes and ears on the ground to help us keep our progress toward full equality and acceptance marching forward in these difficult times.