What Amy Coney Barrett’s Confirmation To the Supreme Court Means For the LGBTQ+ Community


Photo/Nicholas Kamm via Getty Images

President Trump watches as Amy Coney Barrett is administered the constitutional oath at the White House on Oct. 23, 2020.

Eloise Dayrat, Staff Writer

I am scared and I am confused. I am an LGBTQ+ member who is scared and confused because Donald Trump, the president of the United States, appointed a judge for the Supreme Court of the United States (SCOTUS) only 38 days before the presidential election. I am a queer person who is wondering why on earth President Trump appointed Judge Amy Coney Barrett to be a Supreme Court justice only 38 days before an election. Not only that, but it took President Trump less than a week after Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s passing to go against her last wish, which was that a new Supreme Court justice was not to be nominated until a new presidential term began. Clearly, this wish was not Trump’s command.

Amy Coney Barrett is unfit as a justice for the supreme court. She has been a judge for three years. Judge Barrett has spent the majority of her professional life in academia teaching law, up until 2017, when she was nominated for the Court of Appeals by President Trump. This was where she began her judicial career. She is the most inexperienced judge to ever be confirmed into the SCOTUS.

Amy Coney Barrett is a threat to LGBTQ+ rights.

“I feel like we are moving backwards. If you look at major gender and major sexuality landmarks, they stop at 2016. We were making bounds and leaps towards the right direction and then [in] 2016 it stops. There were no more new nondiscrimination policies. They[the Trump Administration] repealed Obama’s bathroom law, policy, or something along those lines, which allowed transgender and other non-cis students to use the bathroom whose gender they identify with. They are moving us backwards by repealing laws and policies that would help the LGBTQ community. Instead, they are putting in new laws and policies that discriminate against us,” sophomore Joe Peters said. The intersectional issues that Peters will face being a gay person of color (POC) in this country will increase greatly with such a conservative supreme court.

In 2016, Justice Antonin Gregory Scalia died under Barack Obama’s presidency nine months prior to an election. Mitch McConnell, the Senate Majority Leader, deemed it unconstitutional for President Obama to nominate a new justice during an election year. Yet, to this day, McConnell remains the Senate Majority Leader and he let President Trump nominate Justice Barrett in an election year.

Amy Coney Barrett is a traditionalist. She is strong and true to her religious beliefs as a Catholic. It should be obvious that her religious beliefs should not intertwine with her rulings in the Supreme Court. However, she has indeed let her beliefs shine through into her judicial career.

In an article by Vox, writer Katelyn Burns found that “Barrett — who is Catholic — signed a letter in 2015 addressed to Catholic bishops that detailed her personal beliefs, and that included a statement about ‘marriage and family founded on the indissoluble commitment of a man and a woman.’”

Peters expressed his take on Judge Barrett’s negligence when it comes to her partaking in a secular government.

“Her lack of separation of church and state will affect me in the way that she is very traditionalist. So, she obviously is against LGBTQ marriage and rights … That will lead to more discrimination against me because I’m gay … [Right now] there are laws against discrimination in the workplace and such. She will probably work to revoke those, making sure I can be evicted because of my landlord’s religion. Donald Trump already got rid of the law prohibiting homeless shelters from turning away LGBTQ members, which is horrible. Amy Barrett will just make this worse and will continue to take away our rights,” he said.

Sophomore Allison Tocmo also communicated her troubles with Barrett’s shortage of secular government actions.

“It’s definitely not fair. I really don’t see why who I love and who I am is really politics? There’s this thing called separation of church and state. And, you know, not everyone worships the same god, or the same divine figure, some people don’t even worship anything, so why are you trying to force your religious beliefs on thousands of people who don’t even worship it. This is my business, stay out of it. It’s very unfair. I’m in fact scared for what my future is going to be like,” they said.

He elaborated on their fears.

“I’m just very bitter because I can’t vote. I just really wish I could vote because there’s a lot of things that I feel are unraveling even outside of the LGBTQ+ community. For Black people, and Indigenous people, and just people of color. Because of the current administration, a lot of things are coming to light, a lot of people are saying we’re going backwards. That’s terrifying, so I just really wish I could vote,” she explained.

Continuing, they said, “I’ve honestly tried to stay away from it, because personally, it’s terrifying to me. I get stressed out. Maybe that’s just me coming to terms with the fact that this world is not really for us? I’m really just like ‘wow, that’s scary.’”

Similarly to Peters, Tocmo will face intersectional issues being a queer POC with the right-leaning Supreme Court.

During justice Barrett’s hearing, she was asked about the 2015 ruling in the Obergefell v. Hodges case, which granted same-sex couples the right to marry. She referred to sexuality as ‘sexual preference,’ implicitly proposing that who we love is a choice we make.

Senator Mazie Hirono did however call her out on it during the hearing: “Not once, but twice, you used the term ‘sexual preferences’ to describe those in the LGBTQ community. And let me make clear, sexual preference is an offensive and outdated term. It is used by anti-LGTBQ activists to suggest that sexual orientation is a choice. It is not.”

Just as Tocmo previously questioned, maybe this world is not really for us? It feels as if every day I have to fight for my right to exist. My right to exist being a POC, and my right to exist being queer. We have to fight just to be who we are. Now, with Justice Barrett, the fight becomes even greater and even more frightening.