In his search for a Supreme Court nominee, President-elect Donald Trump recently met with an ultra-conservative judge who once argued that gay people should be put in jail for having consensual sex in the privacy of their own homes.
According to the Associated Press, Judge William H Pryor, Jr. met with Trump on Saturday. The men had a secret meeting in New York, which was not made public by Trump’s transition team. Pryor Jr. is a former Alabama Attorney General who in 2003 defended a law in Texas which makes consensual sex between men of the same sex illegal.
Despite a ruling by the Supreme Court in 2003 which deemed the state’s anti-sodomy law unconstitutional, the bigoted law is still on the books; however, the state stopped enforcing it. According to Snopes, in 2003 Pryor, Jr. filed an amicus brief in support of the Texas anti-sodomy law while serving as Alabama’s attorney general. He argued that states should have the right to criminalize gay sex regardless of where it takes place. He further justified his rationale by citing the opinion of another homophobic judge who compared homosexuality to incest. Here’s a portion of his filing:
In short, the States should remain free to protect the moral standards of their communities through legislation that prohibits homosexual sodomy. If legislation of such activity is no longer supported by a majority of the citizens of the States, the legislatures of the States will repeal them, or elected executive officials will cease to enforce them. The recent movement toward decriminalizing homosexual sodomy, even with Bowers v. Hardwick on the books, shows that the legislative system is quite able to respond to popular will without judicial prodding. Impatience with the pace of change, or with the resistance of citizens who do not regard the change as beneficial, does not justify the judicial creation of a new constitutional right.
In his Poe v. Ullman dissent, which foreshadowed the recognition of the marital right of privacy in Griswold v. Connecticut, Justice Harlan said that homosexual activity, even when “concealed in the home,” was a proper matter of state concern and could be forbidden by the States …
Not only did Justice Harlan find no fundamental right to homosexual activity, he found a fundamental “pattern … deeply pressed into the substance of our social life” against such practice. Later in his dissenting opinion, Justice Harlan repeated his position “that adultery, homosexuality, fornication, and incest … however privately practiced” are subject to state proscription. “
In the same legal brief, the former attorney general argued that the U.S. Constitution does not protect LGBT citizens.
The Supreme Court has never recognised a fundamental right to engage in sexual activity outside of monogamous heterosexual marriage, let alone to engage in homosexual sodomy,” wrote Pryor.
“Such a right would be antithetical to the ‘traditional relation of the family’ that is ‘as old and as fundamental as our entire civilisation.’”
He also defended the right of heterosexual people to engage in anal sex, arguing that form of sex was legally acceptable as opposed to the same-sex variety.
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 wrote.
Going on, he said 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 recognised in this country as a right; to the contrary, it has historically been recognised as a wrong. It is not a fundamental right.”
Keven Cathcart, Lambda Legal’s executive director, revealed that Pryor once blocked a law in Florida which would have allowed same-sex couples to adopt.
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,” wrote Cathcart.
“As a result, lesbians and gay men in Florida cannot adopt children who need permanent, loving homes.”
Lambda Legal describes Pryor, Jr. as “the most demonstrably anti-gay judicial nominee in recent memory.”
Ironically, the homophobic judge has his own gay scandal which alleges that he posed nude for a gay magazine when he was in college. Pryor, Jr. vehemently denies that the young man in the photo is him. However, the resemblance is striking. You can view the photo here and judge for yourself.
But hey, when his administration is already filled with racists, billionaire donors, and white supremacists, it seems only logical for Trump to have a rabidly homophobic Supreme Court nominee. Because this is the direction he believes America has voted for, and there is nothing to stop him from pushing his twisted agenda onto the majority of Americans who do not support his sick ideals. Nothing save for the vigilance of an awake, aware, and active citizenry who must work every day to make sure he doesn’t destroy everything America is supposed to stand for.
Featured image photo by Alabama Attorney General’s Office/Getty Images)