Twelve days into his unquestionably chaotic tenure, President Donald Trump sparked the ire of liberal voters once again by nominating Neil Gorsuch to the Supreme Court on Tuesday.
Though Trump touted Gorsuch for having “earned bipartisan support,” much of the Democratic pushback so far has stemmed from the fact that Republicans refused to consider Merrick Garland, who was former President Barack Obama’s pick for the seat of the late Antonin Scalia, for nearly a year.
Trump’s choice of Gorsuch, a conservative federal appeals judge in Colorado, received a chilly response from LGBTQ groups in particular. Though his background on queer issues is limited, Gorsuch famously sided with the conservative Christian owners of Hobby Lobby, who sued the federal government in 2013 after seeking an exemption from the Affordable Care Act’s contraception mandate, citing their religious faith. He’s also been an outspoken admirer of Scalia, who was staunchly opposed to same-sex marriage and other LGBTQ rights.
A number of advocacy groups, including GLAAD and PFLAG, decried the judge’s nomination almost immediately. The president’s choice of Gorsuch, officials wrote, re-affirmed their doubts regarding his views on the LGBTQ community as a whole.
“Numerous times in the last 11 days we have shared our concern that civil rights―for the LGBTQ community, for women, for immigrants, for people of color, for all marginalized communities―would erode under this administration,” Interim Executive Director Elizabeth Kohm wrote in a statement on PFLAG’s website. “Now, with his nomination of Judge Neil Gorsuch for a lifetime appointment to the United States Supreme Court, it is clear our concerns were more than justified.” Added American Civil Liberties Union’s Executive Director Anthony D. Romero, “Gorsuch’s record, including his decision in the Hobby Lobby case, raises questions about whether he would allow businesses and individuals to opt out of nondiscrimination laws based on religious objections.”