William Barr, President Trump’s pick for Attorney General, to replace Jeff Sessions, who resigned last month upon the president’s request, once complained about gay student groups having the same rights as others.
In an essay published in 1995, and republished last year, by The Catholic Lawyer, a publication for St. John’s University School of Law, in an article titled, “Legal Issues in a New Political Order,” Barr argued, “Secularists use law as a weapon [by passing] laws that affirmatively promote the moral relativist viewpoint.”
In addition to bemoaning a landlord’s inability to discriminate against unmarried couples, he wrote of “the effort to apply District of Columbia law to compel Georgetown University to treat homosexual activist groups like any other student group.”
Barr, who previously served as Attorney General from 1991 to 1993, under President George H.W. Bush, then made the jump that offering equal protection under the law was tantamount to the government saying “people, either individually or collectively, may not make moral distinctions or say that certain conduct is good but another is bad.”
In that same essay, he argued against a secular worldview and in favor of the “transcendent order flows from God’s eternal law—the divine will by which the whole of creation is ordered.”
“It is no accident that the homosexual movement, at one or two percent of the population, gets treated with such solicitude while the Catholic population, which is over a quarter of the country, is given the back of the hand,” he added.
In a speech delivered in 1992, in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, to the Governor’s Conference on Juvenile Crime, Drugs and Gangs, he said there was a “moral lobotomy” taking place at public schools “based on the extremist notions of separation of church and state or on theories of moral relativism which reject the notion that there are standards of right or wrong to which the community can demand adherence.”
He also advocated for a policy keeping Haitian refugees seeking asylum from violence following a coup d’etat out of the United States because some of them had HIV. Congress passed a law in 1987 barring HIV-positive people from entering the country.
“William Barr, who has wrongfully suggested that LGBTQ people – not Trump and his destructive policies – have harmed the United States, is the latest in a long line of replacements who President Trump has appointed to his Cabinet who are just as anti-LGBTQ as their predecessors,” said Sarah Kate Ellis, president and CEO of GLAAD, in a statement. “If confirmed, there’s little doubt that William Barr would continue the Trump administration’s objective of erasing LGBTQ Americans from the fabric of this nation.”
The Human Rights Campaign also raised the alarm.
“The Trump-Pence White House and the Justice Department have been pursuing a policy agenda to undermine the legal rights of LGBTQ people since day one,” said HRC director of government affairs David Stacy. “From his views around HIV/AIDS during his tenure as attorney general to his more recent writing promoting extreme views around religious exemptions, William Barr looks ill suited to be our country’s top law enforcement officer. The Senate has a solemn responsibility to advise and consent on this important nomination and his troubling views on LGBTQ equality and the law must be thoroughly vetted.”