Though the political theatre of the Amy Coney Barrett Supreme Court hearings are over -- and fairly inconsequential given that as the Senate is expected to vote along party lines, her confirmation is a moot point -- people are still speaking out on just what dangers Barrett might pose to LGBTQ+ rights. Pete Buttigieg recently said that his marriage could be at stake. To that end, Jim Obergefell, the man whose Supreme Court case won marriage equality nationally said that queer and trans communities could be facing "a shallow and unfulfilling life" in light of Barrett's ascent, which he came out in opposition of.
All of this said, during her hearings Barrett said she had "never discriminated on the basis of sexual preference." After confronted with how outdated and inaccurate the term was-- preference connotes that sexuality is a choice and is typically used as a dog whistle to religious conservatives, some of whom are proponents of harmful practices like conversion therapy -- she later changed the statement to sexual orientation. But a new report from AP delves into how Barrett has allowed this discrimination to happen and aligned herself with it.
From 2015 to 2017, Barrett was a trustee at Trinity Schools Inc, a group of three schools in Indiana, Minnesota, and Virginia. The schools are affiliated with People of Praise "an insular community rooted in its own interpretation of the Bible," that Barrett has long been a part of. According to more than two dozen people interviewed by AP, the community teaches that "homosexuality is an abomination against God, sex should occur only within marriage and marriage should only be between a man and a woman."
Pursuant to this end, in 2014, according to the New York Times, Trinity Schools adopted an admissions policy that effectively excluded children of same-sex couples. And though that language was eventually softened, multiple people told AP that school administrators "made clear verbally they did not want to admit children of gay families." Gay and lesbian teachers were also not welcome to teach at the schools. A faculty employment agreement from 2014 categories homosexual acts as "blatant sexual immorality" and says that it "has no place in the culture of Trinity Schools." When questioned about the report, White House spokesman Judd Deere released a statement.
"Because Democrats and the media are unable to attack Judge Barrett's sterling qualifications, they have instead turned to pathetic personal attacks on her children's Christian school, even though the Supreme Court has repeatedly reaffirmed that religious schools are protected by the First Amendment," he wrote.
But these views absolutely matter. Of the many cases slated to hit the Supreme Court is Fulton v. City of Philadelphia. There, the City of Philadelphia halted its contract with a contractor that it had previously worked with to find foster parents, because the organization excluded LGBTQ+ parents from their services. The Supreme Court's decision could either strengthen nondiscrimination policies -- many of which have been weakened by Trump's administration -- or weaken them in favor of religious preference. This comes in addition to Barrett who would likely side with justices Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito who indicated that marriage equality needed to be repealed as it stood in conflict with the First Amendment.
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