How Trump Judges Are Eroding

LGBTQ Equality

AFJ Action Campaign is tracking the votes of every senator up for reelection in 2020 on Trump’s worst of the worst judges. Each senator who voted to confirm these judges owns the decisions—these decisions are harming people every day. See how your senator voted for some of the worst of the worst judges here.

In Otto v. City of Boca Raton11th Circuit Judges Barbara Lagoa and Britt Grant held that city ordinances prohibiting licensed therapists from performing conversion therapy on minors violated the First Amendment. Conversion therapy is a harmful and often abusive practice that seeks to alter or suppress a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity. Despite Courts in the past upholding similar consumer protection regulations of licensed professions, the Judges argued these ordinances were content-based restrictions on free speech. They subsequently held that there was insufficient evidence of conversion therapy’s harmfulness for the ordinances to survive strict scrutiny, even though the Judges themselves recognized that the therapy could be described as “dangerous.” As the dissenting judge in the case noted, even assuming the ordinances were content-based regulations, this holding ignored the fact that mental health organizations including the American Psychological Association, World Health Organization, and U.S. Department of Health and Human Services have found that conversion therapy poses a “severe threat” to children’s health and can cause depression, anxiety, and suicidal thoughts that “may put young people at risk of serious harm.”

In Telescope Media Group v. Lucero, Eighth Circuit judge David Stras created a religious exemption from state anti-discrimination laws protecting LGBTQ people, allowing a video production business to refuse to produce wedding videos for same-sex couples.

In McGlone v. Metropolitan Government, Sixth Circuit judge Joan Larsen joined an opinion finding that a municipality violated the First Amendment rights of anti-LGBTQ preachers. The preachers, who made anti-LGBTQ speeches for hours through amplified bullhorns at the 2015 Nashville Pride Festival, had been removed after being warned that they did not have the required permit to continue disrupting the event from the location they were occupying.

In U.S. v. Varner, Fifth Circuit Judge Kyle Duncan refused to correct the record so that plaintiff’s name on her judgement of conviction reflected her name and gender following her transition. He also insisted on using her wrong gender pronouns in court.

In Gibson v. Collier, Fifth Circuit judge James Ho authored the majority opinion in a case that upheld a lower court’s decision to throw out a lawsuit brought by a transgender prisoner claiming that Texas prison officials violated her Eight Amendment rights by showing “deliberate indifference” to her gender dysphoria, a diagnosed medical condition.

In Vazzo v. City of Tampa, Florida district court judge William F. Jung ruled that Tampa did not have the authority to ban conversion therapy.


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