LGBTQI Catholics: Trump Supreme Court Nominee Could Threaten Rights, Lives of our Community

LGBTQI Catholics: Trump Supreme Court Nominee Could Threaten Rights, Lives of our Community

September 26, 2020. DignityUSA, the organization of Catholics committed to justice, equality, and full inclusion of LGBTQI people in our church and society, joins people across our country in continuing to honor the memory and legacy of Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg, who will be laid to rest next week.

DignityUSA’s members understand that the Supreme Court plays a unique and pivotal role in shaping US law and society. Rushing to fill a seat based primarily on political priorities threatens this august body’s credibility. The American people deserve to trust that nomination and confirmation of Justices should be undertaken with great care and opportunity for full and respectful deliberation.

In the weeks, months, and years ahead the Supreme Court will hear a number of cases that will have tremendous impact on whether LGBTQI+ people are treated as full members of American society and provided equal protection under the law. The first of these, Fulton v. City of Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, is scheduled for oral arguments on November 4, 2020. This case will determine whether publicly funded, religiously affiliated social service agencies can ban same-sex couples from becoming foster or adoptive parents, despite state and local laws banning such discrimination.

“The President’s public commitment to nominate Justices who represent commitment to the primacy of a narrow, inflexible, and outdated understanding of Christianity in shaping our laws and culture threatens the rights, even lives, of many in our nation, including LGBTQI people,” said Marianne Duddy-Burke, Executive Director of DignityUSA. “A nominee for such a critical position must be considered based on their commitment to equality under the law for all individuals.

“We do not see a commitment to equality from Judge Amy Coney Barrett,” continued Duddy-Burke. “She has argued marriage equality should be a state by state rather than federal decision and signed a 2015 letter to Catholic bishops in advance of Vatican Synod on the Family declaring support for the theory of gender complementarity and for definition of ‘marriage and family founded on the indissoluble commitment of a man and a woman.’ She has made statements indicating she does not believe Title IX protections against sex discrimination should apply to transgender people, referred to transgender women as ‘physiological males who identify as females,’ and repeated unproven concerns they present a threat to female children. She also refused to re-hear an employment case centered on racial discrimination, raising questions about her approach to civil rights.”

Duddy-Burke also raised concerns about Judge Barrett’s being repeatedly referred to as a “devout Catholic,” and what that characterization may convey about her church affiliation.

“Devout Catholics, Catholics deeply committed to our faith, hold a wide range of positions and beliefs on  social issues and policies that are likely to come before the Supreme Court. Judge Barrett’s public comments on gender, sexuality, and abortion, for example, are not shared by a majority of U.S. Catholics, and should not be seen as typical in any way. For many, if not most Catholics, Judge Barrett’s beliefs raise alarms about her perspective on issues such as religious liberty, health care access, social services, employment law, and other real-life issues affecting people of all religious affiliations and no affiliation. We question whether she would live up to her stated commitment to be guided by law rather than her faith if given a seat on our highest court.”

Duddy-Burke concluded, “DignityUSA remains committed to justice, equality and full inclusion of LGBTQI people in the Catholic Church and in society. We will continue to represent Catholics committed to these values in cases before the US Supreme Court, as we have done for decades.”



Founded in 1969, DignityUSA has members and Chapters across the United States, and is a founding member of the Global Network of Rainbow Catholics.