A legal advocacy group for LGBT people has called one of the Donald Trump’s prospective Supreme Court nominees “the most demonstrably anti-gay judicial nominee in recent memory.”
In 2005, Lambda Legal announced its opposition to the appointment of William H. Pryor Jr. to the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eleventh Circuit, saying he had “repeatedly shown clear hostility to the rights of lesbians, gay men, bisexuals, transgender people and those with HIV – and also to women, people of color, disabled people and others.”
In a 2003 legal brief arguing to uphold a Texas law criminalizing consensual LGBT sex, Pryor compared it to “polygamy, incest, pedophilia, prostitution, and adultery” and argued that states should be free to prosecute gay people as criminals. He said the rights of LGBT people as a group are not protected by the Constitution.
“This Court [the Supreme Court] has never recognized a fundamental right to engage in sexual activity outside of monogamous heterosexual marriage, let alone to engage in homosexual sodomy,” Pryor wrote. “Such a right would be antithetical to the ‘traditional relation of the family’ that is ‘as old and as fundamental as our entire civilization.”
He also said homosexuality was harmful and that Texans needed protection from it.
“Texas is hardly alone in concluding that homosexual sodomy may have severe physical, emotional, psychological, and spiritual consequences, which do not necessarily attend heterosexual sodomy, and from which Texas’s citizens need to be protected.”
He also argued there was “no fundamental right to engage in homosexual sodomy just because it is done behind closed doors… Because homosexual sodomy has not historically been recognized in this country as a right — to the contrary, it has historically been recognized as a wrong — it is not a fundamental right.”
An Atlanta Journal-Constitution op-ed cited by People for the American Way slams Pryor’s record.
“Pryor would deny gay men and lesbians the equal protection of the laws,” the op-ed reads. “He believes that it is constitutional to imprison gay men and lesbians for expressing their sexuality in the privacy of their own homes and has voluntarily filed an amicus brief in the Supreme Court urging the Court to uphold a Texas law that criminalizes such private consensual activity.”
Lambda Legal also notes that Pryor cast a deciding vote that blocked Florida LGBT couples from adopting children in need of homes.
“Several judges on the appeals court wanted to hear the case and said the law raised ‘serious and substantial questions,’ but William Pryor kept that from happening,” executive director Kevin Cathcart wrote. “As a result, lesbians and gay men in Florida cannot adopt children who need permanent, loving homes.”