They’ve been telling us for years what their plans were… and they’re deeply unsettling.
Last June, I wrote an article for Medium outlining the agenda published by the GOP that laid marriage equality in their crosshairs. A key part of their platform from 2016- and doubled down upon for their 2020 platform- was to revisit the landmark Marriage Equality ruling, overturn it, and send it back to the individual states to vote on as a simple ballot issue. Their statement emphasized that marriage legalized for LGBTQ people was unconstitutional and compromised the integrity of the family unit which they define as a holy union between “One man and one woman.”
The hyperbole is all-too familiar. They invoke old tropes to demonize same-sex couples leveraging the whole “Won’t someone think of the children!” argument while asserting that true mental and emotional stability can only be achieved in a family comprised of a Mother and a Father.
Prior to the confirmation of hyper-conservative Justice Amy Coney Barrett — who had, in her short career, overturned a ruling in Milwaukee concerning a pregnant teenage female inmate who had been viciously raped by a prison guard four times. During one of the attacks, she began to hemorrhage and went into premature labor. In the initial ruling, wherein the inmate sued the prison for the violation of her person and the compromise of her safety, she was awarded 6.3 million dollars for her unimaginable suffering. Her rapist was fired, sentenced to 3 days in jail and fined $200 dollars.
And the ruling was appealed by the defense.
Coney Barrett, who was the Judge hearing the appeal, not only overturned the initial ruling but revoked the monetary sum awarded to the victim and revised it to zero stating the prison was not responsible for her rape because the attack that the victim endured at the hands of the guard “was not part of his duties,” thus his workplace held no liability. In effect, Coney Barrett believed that, since the Guard was not paid to rape his victim, his employer was not at fault. At the time, the prison was supervised by Sheriff David Clarke, a high-profile Trump supporter in Wisconsin.
Coney Barrett has, in her personal life, belonged to a radical religious sect called “People of Praise,” founded in the 1970’s in remote Indiana, which requires women within the institution to remain wholly subserviently to men. The women serve as literal “Handmaids” and assume the role as person of lesser equivalency to the men.
The group also holds very distinctive anti-gay views. One does not have to reach far to speculate how Coney Barrett would rule on the rights, should they be contested again, of LGBTQ+ Americans in the Supreme Court she now sits upon.
In fact, it is what Republicans are expecting- a challenge to multiple landmark rulings that, prior to now, had been decided law and not up for further negotiation. Yet, since Donald Trump took up the mantle of President of the United States, conservative groups have been excitedly wringing their hands with the hopes of a redesigned, conservative leaning Supreme Court, and waiting to pounce the moment Trump stacked it with a majority of conservative Judges. The words spoke at Coney Barrett’s confirmation will still be echoing off the walls of Senate when religious groups start filing lawsuits to fight women’s reproductive rights, marriage equality, healthcare access and transgender civil rights back to the Supreme Court with the expectation of a favorable ruling, finally.
Indeed, with a court that Trump has stacked with Judges who hold a very specific world view, it is a matter of fact that LGBTQ+ people and women’s rights have no place in it.
Already, Justice Clarence Thomas and Justice Samuel Alito have launched new scathing attacks on the Marriage Equality ruling, which was granted to same-sex couples in a 5–4 decision back in 2015. That it will be challenged again by the religious sector is inevitable. With the composition of the court radically changed since the initial ruling, now being 6 Conservatives vs. 3 Liberal Judges, the outcome will likely be a complete reversal, with the rights of LGBTQ+ Americans put back on state ballots for the rest of the country to vote on.
Roe vs. Wade, the famous case that saw women, for the first time, gain sovereignty over their reproductive choices, will also be argued once again. Coney Barrett herself, during her confirmation testimony, opined that such a ruling was not, in fact, “Super-Precedent” implying the ruling was still debatable as to whether a woman’s right to choose is protected. To her, it is not.
We are treading into very dangerous territory when the laws of our Nation’s most powerful court uses religion as a guidance tool. Such a practice jeopardizes the safety of millions of Americans who do not fall between their narrow goal posts of acceptability standards.
The result of Coney Barrett taking a seat as a Justice means that we will wind back the hands of time where we must fight our own government for the rights and respect that they, themselves, enjoy without contest years after we have put our placards down…. or risk be relegated to the status of second class citizens once more.