News (USA)

White House hides behind ‘religious freedom’ in defense of antigay Trump nominee

Sarah Huckabee Sanders
Sarah Huckabee Sanders addresses the controversy over Trump's judicial nominee Amy Barrett.Photo: YouTube Screenshot

White House Press Secretary Sarah Huckabee Sanders invoked “religious freedom” in order to defend one of President Trump’s judicial nominee who has come under fire for her radical religious beliefs, including opposition to marriage equality.

Sanders was asked by Fred Lucas, of The Daily Signal, a publication of The Heritage Foundation, itself rabidly anti-LGBTQ, about legislative opposition to Amy Barrett, Trump’s pick for a seat on the U.S. Seventh Circuit Court of Appeals.

Naturally, that’s not how he worded it.

“On the nomination of Amy Coney Barrett, there’s have been some attacks among senators, some in the media, on her religious beliefs. Does the White House have some concerns about that?” he asked.

“We certainly support religious freedom, and would ask that Congress also support that as well,” she answered, before ending the press briefing to attend a moment of silence for the victims of the Las Vegas shooting. She asked for prayers for them, as well as those in Puerto Rico recovering from the hurricane.

Barrett signed onto a 2015 letter opposing marriage equality by the Ethics & Public Policy Center for Catholic Women, in response to the Obergefell v. Hodges Supreme Court ruling that made it the law of the land.

Her religious beliefs came up in her Senate confirmation hearings, with Sen. Dianne Feinstein charging that “the dogma lives loudly within you.”

An article by The New York Times detailed a connection between her and a tightly knit Catholic group called People of Praise, which has a loyalty oath and pushes the belief that women should be subservient to their husbands.

Barrett isn’t the only Trump judicial nominee with a history of espousing anti-LGBTQ views, including Jeff Mateer, whom the president nominated for a federal judgeship in Texas.

Mateer has expressed his opposition to marriage equality, his support for the widely debunked and dangerous practice of ex-gay “conversion therapy,” and even said that transgender children are “part of Satan’s plan.”

Watch Sanders respond to the question about Barrett in the video below.

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