Supreme Court Nominee Coney Barrett Was a Trustee of Anti-Gay Private School

During her Senate confirmation hearings last week Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett was questioned extensively about her personal and legal views related to LBGTQ people. At one point she caught a lot of heat for using the expired term “sexual preference.” She apologized, saying that she “would never mean to use a term that would cause any offense to the LGBTQ community. I have never discriminated on the basis of sexual preference and would not discriminate on the basis of sexual preference.”

Today new questions are being raised about Coney Barrett’s ability to rule impartially on LBGTQ issues. An investigation by The Associated Press has found that the private Christian schools for which she served as a member of the Board of Trustees effectively barred the admission of children of same-sex parents and did not allow openly gay and lesbian people to teach their children.

(Photo by Demetrius Freeman – Pool/Getty Images)

The schools’ discriminatory policies were in place before Coney Barrett joined the board in 2015 and during the time she was a trustee. It’s believed she resigned from the board in 2017. At least three of her seven children attended the Trinity School in South Bend, Ind.

The schools’ teachings on homosexuality and treatment of LGBTQ people are harsher than those of the mainstream Catholic church. Note that Pope Francis, in a documentary released Wednesday, endorsed civil unions for the first time as pope, saying, “Homosexual people have the right to be in a family. They are children of God.”

Interviewees told the AP that “Trinity’s leadership communicated anti-LGBTQ policies and positions in meetings, one-on-one conversations, enrollment agreements, employment agreements, handbooks and written policies — including those in place when Barrett was an active member of the board.”

A 2018-19 enrollment agreement obtained by the AP says “the only proper place for human sexual activity is marriage, where marriage is a legal and committed relationship between one man and one woman.” It goes on to say that activities such as “fornication, pornography, adultery and homosexual acts, and advocating or modeling any of these behaviors” are at odds with the school’s core beliefs.

Suzanne B. Goldberg, a professor at Columbia Law School who studies sexuality and gender law, told the AP that Coney Barrett’s leadership position with the school raises concerns. “When any member of the judiciary affiliates themselves with an institution that is committed to discrimination on any ground, it is important to look more closely at how that affects the individual’s ability to give all cases a fair hearing,” Goldberg said.

The Senate Judiciary Committee will vote on Coney Barrett’s nomination on Thursday. On the assumption that she will be voted out of committee, Majority Leader Mitch McConnell (R-Ky.) has scheduled a vote by the full Senate for Oct. 26.

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