The hearing for U.S. Supreme Court candidate Brett Kavanaugh is underway, and it’s already looking back for LGBTQ people.
According to Towleroad, Kavanaugh made a point to not discuss his opinions on LGBTQ issues.
Democratic Senator Kamala Harris from California asked Kavanaugh his opinion on gay marriage and the historic Obergefell case that brought it to reality in the US. Kavanaugh then decided to respond by commenting on the recent religious freedom case involving wedding cakes.
“In Masterpiece Cakeshop, and this is I think relevant to your question, Justice Kennedy wrote in the majority opinion, joined by Chief Justice Roberts and Justice Alito and Justice Gorsuch and Justice Breyer and Justice Kagan, ‘The days of discriminating against gay and lesbian Americans or treating gay and lesbian Americans as inferior in dignity and worth are over-‘”
Harris then asked, “Are over. Do you agree with that statement?”
Kavanaugh then tried to pivot away from the topic again, which led Harris to interject more assertively.
“Sir, I’m asking your opinion,” she said. “You’re the nominee right now and so it is probative of your ability to serve on the highest court in our land so I asking you a very specific question. Either you’re willing to answer it or not and if you’re not willing to answer it we can move on. Do you believe Obergefell was correctly decided?”
Kavanaugh responded by saying, “Each of the justices have declined as a matter of judicial independence, each of them, to answer questions in that line of cases. Following the precedent set by those eight justice, they’ve all declined.”
The Human Rights Campaign released a statement in response to Kavanaugh’s refusal to give a clear and concise answer to Harris’s question.
“Brett Kavanaugh’s refusal to answer very basic, very direct questions about the Supreme Court’s historic ruling bringing marriage equality nationwide is alarming and completely unacceptable,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “The Obergefell decision is settled law. If this nominee cannot so much as affirm that or the fundamental equality of LGBTQ people and our families, he should not and must not be granted a lifetime appointment to our nation’s highest court.”
Unfortunately, that wasn’t the end of it as Kavanaugh chose not to comment on gay rights and anti-discrimination.
Senator Cory Booker (D-NJ) asked if Kavanaugh was going to give his opinion on discriminating against gay people because of their same-sex marriage.
“In a majority of American states, you can fire somebody because they’re gay. And, I guess you’re not willing to tell me whether you personally, morally think that’s right or wrong,” said Booker.
Kavanaugh responded by saying, “I’m a judge and therefore with the cases that you’re well aware of pending about the scope of the civil rights laws, the employment discrimination laws…”
Booker interjected here and said:
“That’s what I want to get to the point. That you won’t give me a moral answer because of the pending cases….so maybe I can ask you about your concern when you were in the Bush White House. Did you have any involvement in Bush’s effort to support a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage?”
The two then continued to speak over each other as Booker continued to ask for Kavanaugh’s opinions on gay rights and Kavanaugh kept responding by saying that he just follows the laws set before him.
Honestly, we could plot it all out for you all in, but it’s better if you just hear the mess in the video below.
While it seems like Kavanaugh is reaching for plausible deniability with his lack of response, it also seems that his silence is speaking volumes.