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Amy Coney Barrett’s confirmation in the Supreme Court marks a time of uncertainty regarding the LGBTQIA+ community. Following the death of Supreme Court Justice Ruth Bader Ginsburg (RBG) on Sept. 20, President Trump nominated Barrett to fill the vacant seat, and she was confirmed Oct. 26. Barrett’s confirmation may affect those in the LGBTQIA+ community, and more specifically, it could affect the lives of LGBTQIA+ students and allies at Point Loma Nazarene University (PLNU).
Barrett’s nomination in September sparked controversy among liberals, with many claiming that Trump nominated her solely for his own political gain and to support his political agenda.
Natalie Unis, a freshman Reserve Officers’ Training Corp (ROTC) cadet at PLNU said, “I’m pretty uneducated about the topic, but from what I’ve heard and seen about her, it seems like she wouldn’t help the LGBT community and will probably try to back Trump in his anti-gay agenda.”
Now that Barrett is confirmed, Republicans have a six to three advantage over Democrats in the Supreme Court. Because of this, many LGBTQIA+ Americans and women fear that their rights will be stripped away. Specifically, people are concerned that the right to have an abortion will be jeopardized and the right to same-sex marriage could be reversed.
Paige Solano, a bisexual student at PLNU said, “There was this one article I read about how Amy Coney Barrett could mean the end for LGBTQ+ marriage, which I’m opposed to because I think that who we love and want to marry shouldn’t be political.”
This was also noted by media outlet, The 19th, which said, “a more conservative Supreme Court could bring drastic changes for LGBTQ+ Americans.”
Many LGBTQIA+ Americans fear that Barrett could establish more anti-gay groups that aid the Trump administration’s attack on LGBTQIA+ rights. Barrett is already involved in an anti-LGBTQIA+ group, Alliance Defending Freedom, which the Southern Poverty Law Center classified as a hate group. Barrett’s name is on the faculty list. Additionally, the Human Rights Campaign said Barrett intentionally misgenders transgender women by calling them “physiological males.” Many transgender and nonbinary people are trying to quickly access gender-confirming medical care because they are scared the Affordable Care Act will be abolished. This could cause insurance companies to no longer cover gender surgeries and hormone treatment.
Makayla Renner, a leader of Voices of Love, an LGBTQIA+ organization at PLNU, shared her thoughts on the topic:
“The loose reigns that religious institutions have been given over the last several years suggests that LGBTQ+ students are very much still at risk. Amy Coney Barrett’s nomination would only further this [issue],” Renner said. “It’s a question of where one draws the line between freedom of religion and the freedom to openly discriminate against queer students based on precedents set by judicial decisions.”
Many PLNU students share similar sentiments to Renner. I conducted a poll on Instagram before Barrett’s confirmation. According to the poll, 60 out of 68 (88%) of my PLNU followers believed LGBTQIA+ rights would be negatively affected if Barrett was confirmed. Additionally, 47 of out 55 (85%) of my PLNU followers think the lives of LGBTQIA+ students at PLNU will be negatively affected if Barrett is confirmed.
These statistics show how many PLNU students feel Barrett’s Supreme Court confirmation will cause negative consequences for the LGBTQIA+ community, both at the university and beyond.
Written by: Jessie Taylor