By: Annika Getz
Amy Coney Barrett is the newest member of the Supreme Court (the replacement of Ruth Badger Ginsburg). Many would argue that her election to the court is in itself, against the rules of our democracy, saying that we should have waited for the presidential election before replacing RBG.
However, aside from that, many people have concerns about Barrett herself, and the possible threat she poses to LGBTQIAP+ rights.
Barrett has been asked about gay marriage several times, and each time, she evaded the questions, saying she wasn’t permitted to answer them. This concerns many LGBTQIAP+ members and allies.
Barrett frequently says she “Doesn’t have any agenda” with regard to queer rights. Many are worried that she doesn’t seem to feel the need to try to end the discrimination and oppression against LGBTQIAP+ people.
Barrett also often refers to people in the community as having a “sexual preference.” This is a term used frequently by anti-LGBTQIAP+ advocates, and very much suggests that sexual orientation is a choice, which of course, is incorrect. Sexual orientation isn’t something that people can change about themselves. To suggest that it is completely invalidates that part of a person’s identity.
The court is currently looking at the Fulton vs. Philadelphia case, which discusses whether or not faith based child welfare organizations can refuse to work with gay couples. Many are concerned about what the court will decide, as it is made up mostly of conservative Christians, including Barrett, who many worry could be inclined to vote against LGBTQIAP+ rights.
It could be argued that this would fundamentally be unconstitutional, as the First Amendment enforces Separation of Church and State (many people argue that the term Separation of Church and State wasn’t actually in the constitution, but according to American United, “…the concept of church-state separation certainly does. If you doubt that, just read the writings of Jefferson, James Maddison, and generations of U.S. Supreme Court justices tasked with interpreting and applying the Constitution”).
Separation of Church and State ensures that the government cannot hold one religion superior over others religions, or groups of people. This means that they would not be able to constitutionally allow for child welfare organizations to discriminate against LGBTQIAP+ people. Many worry that the court will overlook this, and allow it anyways. Barrett herself seems to be leaning to vote against the rights of LGBTQIAP+ people.
So, Barrett may say that she’s not against the LGBTQIAP+ community, but she often contradicts herself, and the concern that we in the LGBTQIAP+ community are facing is a legitimate one.
The fact that this is even a debate is concerning in itself. One’s sexual orientation is a part of their identity, and it’s infuriating that some people in this country think that anyone else’s identity is a political issue.