LGBT groups criticize Trump's Supreme Court pick Neil Gorsuch

Thu. February 2, 2017 10:20 AM by Carlos Santoscoy

LGBT rights groups are speaking out against Neil Gorsuch's nomination to the U.S. Supreme Court.

Appearing Tuesday from the East Room of the White House, President Donald Trump announced his pick to replace Justice Antonin Scalia, who died nearly a year ago.

"I have selected an individual whose qualities define – really, and I mean closely define – what we're looking for," Trump said in introducing his pick. "Judge Gorsuch has outstanding legal skills, a brilliant mind, tremendous discipline and has earned bipartisan support."

"The qualifications of Judge Gorsuch are beyond dispute," he later added.

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the nation's largest LGBT rights advocate, said in a blog post that it was opposed to Gorsuch's nomination.

"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," HRC President Chad Griffin said. "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."

As a member of the Tenth Circuit Court of Appeals, Gorsuch joined the court's decision in Hobby Lobby Stores v. Sebelius, which asserts that some for-profit corporations may be exempt from a law based on its owners' religious objections.

In 2015, Gorsuch joined a ruling dismissing a transgender woman's claim that being denied consistent access to hormone therapy while incarcerated was unconstitutional.

Equality California Executive Director Rick Zbur said in a statement that Gorsuch's record "bodes ill for LGBT people."

"Judge Gorsuch gained national attention for his opinions in two federal cases supporting an employer's right to refuse to pay for contraception as part of employee health coverage if doing so violates the employer's religious beliefs. That bodes ill for LGBT people who are facing an onslaught of laws sanctioning discrimination in the name of religious liberty," Zbur said. "Judge Gorsuch's opinions in prior cases such as Hobby Lobby leave us deeply concerned about his willingness to uphold laws protecting LGBT people from bias, not to mention protecting the separation of church and state."

According to "judicial common space" scores, Gorsuch sits ideologically to the right of Scalia, with only Justice Clarence Thomas receiving a higher conservative score.

Article provided in partnership with On Top Magazine