The GOP-led Senate voted 52-46 on Wednesday to confirm one of President Trump’s judicial nominees, Matthew Kacsmaryk, to a lifetime appointment to the federal bench despite strong objections from at least 75 LGBTQ rights groups over his record of opposition to LGBTQ rights.
Kacsmaryk has been criticized for his controversial past writings, in which he said being transgender was a “mental disorder” and called homosexuality “disordered.”
Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) was reportedly the only Republican to join Democrats and oppose Kacsmaryk’s nomination to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas.
Kacsmaryk, the deputy general counsel for First Liberty Institute, a right-wing Christian advocacy group, has fought against protections for LGBTQ people in employment, housing and health care.
The HuffPost reports:
He has called including protections for LGBTQ people in the Violence Against Women Act “a grave mistake.” In 2015, when Utah passed nondiscrimination protections, Kacsmaryk called the law ”a bad idea” because it suggests that discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity should be taken as seriously as other forms of discrimination. He signed on to a 2016 letter that called being transgender “a delusion.”
Kacsmaryk also ripped the Supreme Court’s decision in Obergefell v. Hodges, the landmark 2015 marriage equality case. He wrote that “five justices of the Supreme Court found an unwritten ‘fundamental right’ to same-sex marriage hiding in the due process clause of the Fourteenth Amendment ― a secret knowledge so cleverly concealed in the nineteenth century amendment that it took almost 150 years to find.”
“It strikes me as unusual, more than coincidental, that in June – the LGBTQ Pride Month – our Republican colleagues would decide to bring to the floor the nomination of a Texas district court nominee, Matthew J. Kacsmaryk,” said Sen. Dick Durbin (D-Ill.). “This is yet another extreme nominee outside the mainstream of American thinking who does not deserve to be rubber-stamped for a lifetime appointment by the United States Senate.”
Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), a 2020 presidential candidate, said it was “unbelievable” that Republicans would vote on Kacsmaryk’s during LGBT Pride Month.
It’s unbelievable that during #PrideMonth, Republicans have decided to vote on the nomination of Matthew Kacsmaryk for a lifetime position to the federal bench. Kacsmaryk has filed briefs opposing marriage equality and defending anti-transgender bathroom policies. I’m voting NO.
— Kamala Harris (@SenKamalaHarris) June 19, 2019
“Mr. Kacsmaryk has demonstrated a hostility to the LGBTQ bordering on paranoia,” Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said before the vote, The Post reported. “It’s unbelievable that this man has been nominated, and he’s not alone. The parade of narrow-minded, often bigoted people who we’re putting on the bench. . . . One Republican senator rightfully voiced concerns about this man’s fitness. Where are the others?”
“Mr. Kacsmaryk has challenged LGBT people’s right to form families at all, and argued that the families that they have formed are less legitimate than other families,” reads a letter signed by 75 groups including Lambda Legal, Human Rights Campaign and the National LGBT Bar Association. “He has denied in some cases that LGBT people really exist.”
Sen. Collins said his writings and interviews “indicate an alarming bias” against LGBTQ people and abortion rights.
“Mr. Kacsmaryk has dismissed proponents of reproductive choice as ‘sexual revolutionaries,’ and disdainfully criticized the legal foundations of Roe v. Wade. He has described the ‘campaign for same-sex marriage’ as ‘typified by lawlessness,’” Collins said in a statement. “Such extreme statements reflect poorly on Mr. Kacsmaryk’s temperament and suggest an inability to respect precedent and to apply the law fairly and impartially.”