- ‘Amy Coney Barrett helped lead schools that taught children and educators to hate themselves in the name of religion.’
Leading LGBT+ school campaigners in the US have issued a last minute plea to the Senate not to confirm Amy Coney Barrett for the Supreme Court.
President Donald Trump nominated Amy Coney Barrett on 26 September and the Senate has been rushing to confirm her before the election on 3 November.
However her anti-LGBT+ track record and other extreme stances have emerged during the vetting process. In particular AP reported that she spent two years as a trustee for schools which discriminate against LGBT+ people. She also sent some of her children to one of them.
Now leading US LGBT+ school’s organization GLSEN says her leadership of the anti-LGBT+ schools should disqualify her from the Supreme Court.
It says the schools involved are guilty of ‘oppressive, overt, and crushing discrimination’.
‘Homosexuality is an abomination’
Barrett joined the board of trustees for Trinity Schools in 2015. The board operates three schools, in Indiana, Minnesota, and Virginia, the Associated Press reports.
In turn, the schools are affiliated with People of Praise. That is a conservative Christian group that argues wives should be subservient to their husbands, among other extreme views.
Moreover, both Barrett and her husband, Jesse Barrett, are apparently members of People of Praise.
Furthermore, AP says the couple sent at least three of their sevent children to the Trinity School in South Bend, Indiana.
It says the schools ‘effectively barred admission to children of same-sex parents and made it plain that openly gay and lesbian teachers weren’t welcome in the classroom’.
And it adds the schools and People of Praise have held homophobic attitudes consistently for decades. The institutions believe ‘homosexuality is an abomination against God, sex should occur only within marriage and marriage should only be between a man and a woman’.
This is reflected in educators contracts for 2014 to 2015 which said: ‘Blatant sexual immorality (for example, fornication, adultery, homosexual acts, etc) has no place in the culture of Trinity Schools.’
At various times, the schools put in policies to ban students with LGBT+ parents or made it clear they would not be welcome.
Meanwhile the schools say Barrett didn’t write their LGBT+ policies. However, while the schools admit they are against same-sex marriage, they claim to oppose bullying or harassment of LGBT+ people.
‘Teaching children and educators to hate themselves’
Now GLSEN executive director Eliza Byard says:
‘Amy Coney Barrett helped lead schools that taught children and educators to hate themselves in the name of religion.
‘Such oppressive, overt, and crushing discrimination by a religious school is technically legal, but the fact that Barrett actively participated in enforcement of such discriminatory policies should be disqualifying for a lifetime appointment to do justice for all.
‘How can we tell our children that someone who stands for something so opposite will be entrusted with deciding their rights and freedoms, and shaping our future?
‘Even worse, this is not an isolated case of discrimination. GLSEN research shows that LGBTQ+ students in religious schools report the most anti-LGBTQ+ policies and practices, and at least 14% of religious schools actively discriminate against LGBTQ+ students.
‘It is time for every school leader to recognize that following principles of faith means respecting the dignity and safety of all children.
‘Regardless of who sits on the Supreme Court bench, we at GLSEN will continue to fight for the lives and dreams of millions of children–for their right to live, grow, and learn free from fear and violence, with dignity, and in schools that teach respect and provide real opportunity for every child.’
This month new GLSEN research showed six in 10 LGBT+ students still feel unsafe in US schools.
Same-sex marriage equality at risk
For the most part, Barrett’s Senate confirmation hearings have focused on other issues, rather than her views on LGBT+ equality.
However, Democratic vice president nominee Kamala Harris did warn same-sex marriage equality will be at risk if Barrett joins the US Supreme Court.
Today the Senate Judiciary Committee will vote on whether to advance her nomination to the full Senate. Assuming it does, Senators will vote Monday on whether to confirm her.