Amy Coney Barrett’s responses (or in some cases, lack of responses) regarding same-sex marriage equality, LGBTQ rights, and even the upcoming election have a lot of people very worried. Is the situation as terrifying as the headlines imply? Read on to find out.
Why Barrett’s Answers to Questions Regarding Same-Sex Marriage & LGBTQ Rights Have Everyone Very Nervous
If you follow LGBTQ rights and same-sex marriage news interests, you may notice that it’s positively overflowing with headlines regarding Amy Coney Barret’s responses to vital questions during her confirmation hearing. I know I was concerned enough to call up my lawyer friend and ask him a few questions about the future of same-sex marriage. In true lawyer fashion, he said, “I can’t answer that definitively because it depends on so many factors.”
If that response sounds familiar, it’s because Barrett essentially said the same thing- or a close version of it- about everything from same-sex marriage rights to what she’ll do if the Supreme Court has to decide the winner of November presidential election. The difference between my friend and Barrett? My friend truly cannot answer that definitively because he can’t make predictions regarding the court’s future actions. Barrett, on the other hand, is dodging questions about her own judicial ethics and where she stands on certain issues. She can answer that definitively- or at least give some semblance of a real answer. She just chooses not to.
That is a big part of the reason why everyone in the LGBTQ community is so worried. No response is a response all on its own. Of course, what Barrett does say is just as troubling as what she doesn’t.
How did Barrett answer- or dodge- questions about same-sex marriage, LGBTQ rights, and other issues
Here’s where things get a bit more confusing. Barrett did say that the Obergefell ruling was “an important precedent” and that challenges to the ruling would “most likely” be struck down, according to Newsweek. However, given the latest statement from Clarence Thomas and Samuel Alito, “most likely” is a worrisome way to word it. Pete Buttigieg seems to agree, as he warned that Barrett’s confirmation could put same-sex marriage rights back on the table. He said,
“Just imagine, if this doesn’t already affect you and you’re watching this at home, imagine how you would feel watching this committee proceeding if you knew that your marriage only existed by a one-vote margin on this court.”
Barrett also said that she has “no agenda” regarding the ruling, adding,
“I have never discriminated on the basis of sexual preference and would not discriminate on the basis of sexual preference.”
She was immediately called out on her use of “sexual preference,” as the term indicates a belief that sexual orientation is a choice rather than a part of our biology and genetic makeup. She later apologized, saying,
“I didn’t mean and would never mean to use a term that would cause any offense in the LGBTQ community. So if I did, I greatly apologize for that.”
Barrett flat-out refused to answer questions about how she would rule, or even discuss her overall stance on certain issues. She gave the same essential “no comment” question when asked if she would recuse herself if the election decision. went to the Supreme Court, although she did stress that she wouldn’t be “used a pawn.”
She just plain won’t answer questions about cases that she did not preside over, period. Instead, she invoked what is commonly known as the Ginsburg Rule. Like her RBG said during her own 1993 confirmation hearing, Barrett said she would give “no hints, no forecasts, no previews.”
However, her refusal to provide “hints,” “forecasts” or “previews” could very well deeply affect the very existence of same-sex marriage. So, it’s not unreasonable for LGBTQ Americans to expect some sort of hint regarding whether their marriages will still be valid at the end of the day.
Just how nervous should Barrett’s lack of responses make us?
As I’m not a lawyer, I can’t tell you what to expect in the future if Barrett is confirmed (which is very likely). Even my lawyer friend couldn’t answer that question. However, given her deeply conservative background and her refusal to even answer questions regarding same-sex marriage, it’s not unreasonable at all to be more than a little worried. If you are nervous that your marriage could be in jeopardy, I highly recommend discussing it with a lawyer in your state. They can better answer any questions you may have.