Trump Nominee Matthew Kacsmaryk Is a Threat to Queer People

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June 17, 2019

Authored by Sasha Buchert, Senior Attorney and Kylee Reynolds, Fair Courts Project Fellow

Fifty years ago this month, we fought back. When police raided the Stonewall Inn in 1969, targeting some of the most vulnerable members of our community, the patrons of a bar that acted as a safe haven resisted.

This singular event is credited as the catalyst that started our movement. Tired of hiding our identities and relationships for fear of prejudice, cruelty, and violence, we took to the streets, angrily demanding that the same respect and rights that are given to every other American are given to us.

We fought and we won.

Four years after that, in 1973, Lambda Legal won our first case when the New York Court of Appeals ruled that we could operate as a nonprofit after initially denying tax-exempt status because our mission of fighting for equality was “contrary to public policy.”  Thirty years later, we won the right to private, intimate relationships free from government intrusion in 2003, when the Supreme Court decided Lawrence v. Texas.

And we won on June 26th, 2015, when the Supreme Court handed down a 5-4 majority opinion, granting same-sex couples the right to marry. As we took to the streets again, this time in front of the rainbow-clad White House, celebrating how far we’d come, it was hard to imagine that anything could stop us.

Fast forward nearly four years later, when our country ­– that has fought so hard for all the freedoms that we have now – is being led by an administration that seeks to eliminate our legal protections and erase us from public life.

Few federal laws explicitly protect LGBTQ people from discrimination, and we are too often carved out of laws that should protect us in areas like employment, housing, and credit. Our bodies are stigmatized by false data about the costs of our health care. Trans women of color continue to be murdered with alarming regularity. LGBTQ asylum seekers, fleeing to the U.S. for their own bodily safety, are dying in ICE custody.

And, often overlooked, is the lasting damage that is being done to our judiciary, which is being taken over by conservative ideologues. These are the courts in which Lambda Legal and our partners fight for our rights every single day. And in its relentless drive to pack them, the Trump administration has relied upon scorched-earth tactics to torch existing procedural safeguards that ensure the Senate conducts its constitutional duty to provide meaningful advice and consent.

The Trump administration has gone out of its way to nominate only the “best people” for judgeships – like Jeff Mateer, who said that transgender children are part of “Satan’s plan,” Kyle Duncan, who believed that marriage equality “imperils civic peace” and now sits on the 5th Circuit Court of Appeals, and James Ho, who also sits on the 5th Circuit and who took it upon himself to misgender a transgender woman all through his opinion denying her access to adequate medical care.

And now the Senate is voting on one of the worst among them: Matthew Kacsmaryk. Matthew Kacsmaryk is up for a lifetime appointment to the U.S. District Court for the Northern District of Texas and has made a career for himself out of trying to take away the rights of our community. No LGBTQ person could ever expect a fair day in Matthew Kacsmaryk’s courtroom.

He defended a baker who refused to sell a cake to a same-sex couple for their wedding after calling their marriage an “abomination.” He has called transgender people “delusional” and said that the “very idea of gender identity is problematic.” He says that the fight for LGBTQ equality is “on the wrong side of history.”

Well, we hate to break it to Matthew Kacsmaryk and the Senate, but our community is now, and has always been, on the right side of history.

We will not stand by and watch our courts be taken over by conservative extremists who want to erase us. We won’t go back in the closet, and we won’t ever stop fighting.

We must do what we do best, and fight back. Call your senators NOW and tell them to vote NO on Matthew Kacsmaryk.