Thursday night was set to host 2020's second presidential debate in the general election. But after Trump (and many of his associates) tested positive for the virus at the center of the ongoing epidemic, things changed. The debate commission decided to make it a virtual event which Biden agreed to. Trump pulled out in process.
The move led Biden to set up a town hall with ABC, in order to take questions and speak on issues important to voters. Ever the petty one, Trump partnered with NBC to host his own town hall, at the same time. But at Biden's town hall, the Democratic presidential candidate finally got a question about LGBTQ+ issues.
The town halls represent the fifth national opportunity of the current election process, and previously no LGBTQ+ specific questions were asked. But tonight in Philadelphia, one voter asked, in the context of Amy Coney Barrett being rushed through a confirmation process to a seat on the bench of the Supreme Court, if the LGBTQ+ community should be worried about an erosion of its rights.
"I think there’s great reason to be concerned," Biden started in his response. He went on to admit that he hadn't been able to sit down and watch Barrett's confirmation hearings which ended today, but had been reading coverage. "My reading online of what the judge said was that she didn't answer very many questions at all. I don't even think she has laid out much of a judicial philosophy in terms the basis upon which she thinks are the basic unenumerated rights of the constitution itself, number one.
"So I think there's great reason to be concerned for the LGBT community," Biden continued. "Something I fought for, for a very long time there was equality across the board." The candidate went on to say that he also thought that healthcare overall was in danger given that there is a suit headed to the Supreme Court aiming to dismantle the Affordable Care Act. Given the current scheduling, Barrett is likely to take her seat in enough time to weigh in on that case.
During her hearings, Barrett declined multiple times, pointing back to a supposed "Ginsburg" rule when the late justice said that a nominee should supply "no forecasts, no hints" on how they might decide if named to the bench. It is important to note here that Ginsburg did not even follow this rule herself, making her views on abortion known during her hearings.
That said, that doesn't mean that Barrett has not come out of the hearings without controversy. Early on in answering questions about marriage equality and the Defense of Marriage Act, she used the term "sexual preference" which is largely seen as a dogwhistle to religious homophobes. This was called out as such by Senators later in the hearing and Barrett offered an apology, claiming ignorance.