Trump’s Supreme Court justice Neil Gorsuch is already working to undermine LGBT rights
Donald Trump’s Supreme Court appointee Neil Gorsuch is already taking up the mantle of a reliable voice against LGBT equality on the court.
After a year of blocking President Obama’s Supreme Court nominee, Republicans forced through Trump’s pick for the role earlier this year by changing Senate rules to push through his confirmation without the required number of votes.
During his confirmation hearings, gay Republican groups largely rejected complaints about Trump’s chosen justice Neil Gorsuch, despite equality activists warning that his strict originalist views are likely to undermine work on LGBT rights.
Sure enough, Justice Gorsuch is already working to undermine LGBT equality.
In a ruling earlier this month, the court struck down an Arkansas law that blocked same-sex parents from appearing on their children’s birth certificates.
Gorsuch penned a dissent against the ruling, arguing against the very basis of LGBT protections under constitutional law.
In his dissent, Gorsuch claimed that discriminating against gay parents helps “establish a set of rules designed to ensure that the biological parents of a child are listed on the child’s birth certificate”. He insisted that “rational reasons” exist to exclude same-sex parents from this.
The dissent, which was joined by conservative Justices Thomas and Alito, continues: “Nothing in [equal marriage ruling] Obergefell indicates that a birth registration regime based on biology… offends the Constitution.
“To the contrary, to the extent they speak to the question at all, this Court’s precedents suggest just the opposite conclusion.”
He added: “It seems far from clear what here warrants the strong medicine of summary reversal.”
Slate questioned whether Gorsuch’s dissent included basic factual errors about the case, with his dissent suggesting that “the State agrees the female spouse of the birth mother must be listed on birth certificates”.
The state in fact opposes this, which is, in fact, the whole point of the case.
The Supreme Court is already gearing up for another case which could have a massive impact on LGBT rights.
The court has agreed to look at the case of a Colorado baker who refused to bake a cake for a same-sex wedding.
A discrimination complaint was filed against baker Jack Phillips in 2012, after gay couple David Mullins and Charlie Craig visited the Masterpiece Cakeshop in Denver, Colorado.
The couple said Phillips refused to make a cake for them, after he found out they were celebrating their wedding.
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The Colorado Civil Rights Commission had ruled against Phillips, finding finding that it was discriminatory for the baker to refuse to serve a gay couple because of their sexual orientation.
However, the baker insists his religion requires discrimination against gay people.
The baker is defended by hardline anti-LGBT law firm Alliance Defending Freedom, which has sought to undermine LGBT rights protections in a number of states.
If the Supreme Court swings in favour of the baker, LGBT equality could be seriously undermined.
Anti-gay activists area already hoping for another Trump appointee to tip the balance of the Supreme Court on LGBT issues for years to come – not just for Trump’s time in office.
This could derail any eventual SCOTUS cases on whether civil rights protections extend to LGBT people, as well as reviews of anti-LGBT ‘religious freedom’ laws.