Neil Gorsuch is Trump’s pick of Supreme Court nominee. That is an endorsement from the president of the United States and very likely an indicator that he will be getting a seat on the Supreme Court.
The good news for the LGBT rights movement, is that he will be replacing Scalia. Scalia, who sadly died in February 2016, is often described as being the ‘archenemy’ of the LGBT rights movement.
The bad news, is that Trump – who unsurprisingly heaps praise on Scalia – modelled his next choice on him. And it seems that Gorsuch is all for him too.
President Trump said that Scalia’s ‘image and genius was always in [his] mind throughout the decision-making process’.
Gorsuch joined in with the praise, saying that ‘Justice Scalia was a lion of the law. Agree or disagree with him, all of his colleagues cherish his wisdom, and like them, I miss him.’.
Scalia and LGBT Rights
While it is wrong to speak ill of the dead, there’s no changing the fact that Scalia did some hateful things during his life.
Here is a direct quote from Scalia, who apparently found that gay rights cases were ‘easy’ to decide:
“The death penalty? Give me a break. It’s easy. Abortion? Absolutely easy. Nobody ever thought the Constitution prevented restrictions on abortion. Homosexual sodomy? Come on. For 200 years, it was criminal in every state.”
Here he is again, comparing homosexuality to murder:
“If we cannot have moral feelings against homosexuality, can we have it against murder? Can we have it against other things?”
Yes, Scalia, you can have an opinion on murder. Because that affects other people.
These are literally the people we pay to do the ‘big thinking’. It’s so depressing.
Or how about this gem, spoken not long before his death:
“What minorities deserve protection? What? It’s up to me to identify deserving minorities? What about pederasts? What about child abusers? This is a deserving minority. Nobody loves them.”
Is Neil Gorsuch More of the Same?
So this is the guy that Trump reportedly looks up to. The question is whether or not his replacement is going to be any better.
Unfortunately, we don’t have much to go on at this point, but there are a few clues that we can follow.
For one, Gorsuch held in a ruling that the Affordable Care Act’s mandate that employee insurance plans should cover contraceptives without a co-pay was in violation of the rights of employers that might object to some or all contraceptives on religious grounds.
This could be considered something of a red flag, as it suggests that he will rule in favor of religious tradition where it comes into conflict with sexual freedom. Both sides of this argument can be seen of course, but ultimately this writer holds the view that it still amounts to employers treating people differently on the basis of their sexual habits.
And in such cases, I always find myself questioning whether the likes of Gorsuch would be as quick to defend the rights of religions other than his own…
Gorsuch also took a similar stance in a case involving the Catholic order, the Little Sisters of the Poor, which operated nursing homes. In that case, the court ruled that the order could allow for its insurance provider to absorb the cost of contraceptive coverage to accommodate the order’s religious objections. However, Grosuch felt that this did not offer enough deference to the Little Sisters.
Can we extrapolate from this that Gorsuch might side with businesses that refuse to serve same-sex couples on the basis that it is in breach of their religious liberties?
Probably not yet, but it is certainly a somewhat worrying start. And these are not his only missteps so far. In another case, Gorsuch ruled against a transgender inmate’s request to seek hormone treatment and be reassigned from an all-male facility. Not good.
And certain individuals it would seem have already made up their mind. National LGBTQ Task Force executive directory Rea Carey said the following:
“Judge Neil Gorsuch’s record reveals a jurist who: believes that bosses should control their employees’ private health care decisions; supports the misuse of religion to legalize discrimination; and holds LGBTQ equality with disdain. He is also a darling of those who are vehemently opposed to marriage equality. He seems like someone who aligns perfectly with Donald Trump and Mike Pence’s view of the world, but is completely out of touch with the realities of most people’s lives.”
But like they say in court, ‘innocent until proven guilty’ (another one to remember Gorsuch). We live in hope.