This week, the USA got a new Supreme Court Justice. In a controversial nomination and confirmation hearing, Neil Gorsuch was sworn in yesterday to the highest court in the country, but what does this mean for LGBTQ rights?
Quite honestly, our opinion here at LGBTQ Heritage is that, in the immediacy, nothing will significantly change. He is a conservative justice replacing a conservative justice, so the balance on the court has not changed since the position opened up after the death of Antonin Scalia.
In the majority of the recent rulings on LGBTQ rights, most notably the case against California’s Proposition 8, the overturning of DOMA, and the extension of same-sex marriage rights across the country, Justice Kennedy has been the deciding vote. If it was his place on the court being replaced with an ultra-conservative then maybe the LGBTQ community would have something serious to worry about. Fortunately this is not the case.
For the foreseeable future, LGBTQ civil rights issues are likely to stand the test of the supreme court with Justice Kennedy taking the pivotal vote. Any case to do with marriage equality will weather any storm as Justice Kennedy is unlikely to change his previous opinion.
Moving forward, we as a community need to remain as active as ever – our next challenge looks like it’s going to be ensuring ‘bathroom bills’ for transgender people are deemed unconstitutional across the country. Let us hope the next seat the opens up on the court falls within a democratic presidency as President Trump can never be trusted to do the right thing.
The LGBTQ Heritage Team