Brett Kavanaugh, who was nominated to the Supreme Court, refused to discuss his position on marriage equality in a Senate hearing.
Senator Kamala Harris (D-CA) asked Kavanaugh whether he thought Obergefell was correctly decided. Obergefell was the 2015 Supreme Court decision that expanded marriage equality to all 50 states.
“The question is very specific,” she said. “Can you comment on your personal opinion on whether Obergefell was correctly decided? It’s a yes or no. Please.”
Kavanaugh clearly did not want to answer, immediately bringing up the Masterpiece Cakeshop decision from earlier this year in which the Supreme Court found that the religious beliefs of a baker who refused to sell a cake to a gay couple were not taken into account when a state civil rights commission found that he had discriminated.
“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, the days of discriminating against gay and lesbian Americans as inferior in dignity and worth are over,” Kavanaugh said.
Kamala asked him if he agreed with that statement, and he just said that it is the precedent of the Supreme Court.
She pressed him again on Obergefell, and he responded, “Each of the justices have declined as a matter of judicial independence, each of them, to answer in that line of questions.”
I asked Brett Kavanaugh a very specific question: does he believe the case that made marriage equality the law of the land was correctly decided?
He refused to answer. pic.twitter.com/FO6kCLmk2f
— Kamala Harris (@SenKamalaHarris) September 7, 2018
Though Kavanaugh’s refusal to answer the question is predictable. There are indications that he opposes LGBTQ rights – and marriage specifically – but he wants to get approved by the Senate and making controversial statements won’t help.
Harris’s needling, on the other hand, could be a sign that she is courting LGBTQ votes for a possible 2020 presidential run.
Earlier this year, she co-sponsored legislation to ban the gay and trans panic defenses. In June, she released a Pride Month message that was widely shared on the internet. And late last year, she spoke at the HRC National Dinner.
She has said that she won’t rule out a run for president in 2020.