US election 2020: LGBT voters on Amy Coney Barrett confirmation


LGBT voters on our panel shared mixed reactions to the confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett on Monday.

While one is comforted to have a constitutionalist conservative on the court, others fear she will vote to rescind essential rights for LGBT individuals, including marriage equality which passed the court in 2015.

A Republican, two Democrats and one independent voter share their thoughts on her confirmation and the upcoming presidential election.

Does being a member of the LGBT community affect their votes?

Darius Caldwell is an Air Force veteran voting for Joe Biden. He grew up in a Southern Baptist household and is a self-described "recovering Republican".

Why does this election matter to you?

I've never taken my right to vote for granted. As a recovering Republican, due largely to the rise of Trumpism, I can understand the importance of this election and the value that all of us must place on the preservation of our democratic institutions.

Does being LGBT influence your vote?

Up until now, being a gay man never factored into my voting preferences. Even as a Republican, I wittingly neglected my social views in favour of the notion of limited government and fiscal conservatism and I saw the party as an ideal vessel to secure them both over time.

However, since Trump's rise to the American presidency, Republicans have sought to subvert and denigrate the customs and courtesies of governance by acting as scapegoats and appeasers of Trump.

What is your reaction to today's confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court?

I'm highly upset and disappointed we put ourselves in a position where an ultra-conservative jurist is able to be nominated to the highest court in the land, a court that's supposed to be impartial. There's not supposed to be any political bias. If they had nominated Daffy Duck, the Republicans would have sent him to the Supreme Court. That's how toxic and vitriolic this process has been.

Mike Harlow is a writer, artist, and a former liberal who left the Democratic Party a few years ago. He was once an enthusiastic supporter of Barack Obama, but now wholeheartedly supports Donald Trump, who he says has kept his promises and totally transformed the Republican Party.

What inspired you to vote in this election?

I've always been an extremely engaged voter. As a New Yorker, it feels like we don't get a choice in elections. Far-left Democrats have run our city into the ground, and the local Republican Party does absolutely nothing to offer an alternative or seriously compete in elections. I'm hoping if Trump performs well in NYC, it might be a wake up call to local Republicans that it's time to get to work and do something! Literally, anything!

Does being LGBT influence your vote?

Yes and no. The only way being gay impacts my vote is one of rebellion. We have largely attained equal rights, and we are now free to vote on bigger issues of war, peace, country, and economics. The LGBT community is NOT a wing of the Democrats. The idea that all LGBT people (as well as all minorities) must conform and think alike is the definition of bigotry.

What is your reaction to today's confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court?

I'm thrilled. A presidential term is four years, not three. Those aren't my words. They're Ruth Bader Ginsberg's. It's very interesting how we're supposed to champion women on the Supreme Court, but only if that woman is a Democrat. It affects me as an American who will have peace of mind knowing we have a strong constitutionalist justice on the Supreme Court.

Heidi is a single mother, a civil servant and an independent voter who casts her ballot based on who she thinks best serves the interests of everyday middle-class Americans. This year she's voting for Joe Biden.

As a lesbian Latina, she is concerned about the direction the country may go under four more years of Trump with a conservative majority on the Supreme Court.

Why does this election matter to you?

I felt a deep sense of helplessness and foreboding when I heard President Trump had been elected in 2016. I support Joe Biden this year because he supports causes that are important to me, such as preserving marriage equality and protecting the environment.

Does being LGBT influence your vote?

Being an LGBT voter means everything. It frightens me that freedoms and rights to protect me and my family that I felt had become law are all of a sudden hanging in the balance again.

What is your reaction to today's confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court?

Her confirmation poses a grave threat to previous Supreme Court decisions that now could be reversed. Marriage equality, abortion and the Affordable Care Act, to name a few. Where does this end? It's very frightening.

Che Jackson is a transgender college senior who aspires to work in human rights law. He is supporting the Democrats because he fears the further erosion of LGBT rights if Donald Trump wins a second term, but says he would never support Biden in a normal election year.

Why does this election matter to you?

I believe this administration is a risk to the safety of my loved ones and fellow minority citizens. I am also concerned that this administration's drive to remove us from international treaties and efforts such as the Paris Climate Accords and the WHO undermines our soft power abilities and will likely damage our trustworthiness as an international partner for decades to come.

Does being LGBT influence your vote?

As a Queer individual, these last four years have represented a substantial step backward for my community and that is unacceptable. It's exhausting. We should not have to be in fear all the time. It is hard for me to say I support the Biden/Harris ticket because in most elections I would not. However, if my realistic options at this point are to continue with the current administration or return to normalcy I very much support a return to normalcy.

What is your reaction to today's confirmation of Amy Coney Barrett to the Supreme Court?

I'm certainly concerned about her addition to the court. The way she has ruled in the past makes it clear she is a danger to LGBTQ Americans. I am also concerned about her views on women's rights, especially her pro-life abortion stance.

Image source, AFP

All voters featured here are members of our US election voter panel. You'll hear more from them, and many of our other voters, throughout the next week.

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