Administration

Senate confirms Trump judicial nominee criticized for being hostile to LGBT community

The Senate on Wednesday confirmed one of President Trump's judicial nominees, who has faced mounting criticism from Democrats over his past writings on the LGBT community. 

In a 52-46 vote largely along party lines, the upper chamber confirmed Matthew Kacsmaryk's lifetime appointment to the federal bench in the Northern District of Texas. 

Sen. Susan Collins (R-Maine) was reportedly the only Republican to join Democrats and oppose Kacsmaryk's nomination. The Maine senator last week announced that she would vote against Kacsmaryk because of his "alarming bias against LGBTQ Americans and disregard for Supreme Court precedents."

Many Democratic senators voiced similar outrage over the move, with Sen. Kamala Harris (D-Calif.), a 2020 presidential candidate, saying it was "unbelievable" that Republicans would vote on Kacsmaryk's during LGBT Pride Month. 

"Mr. Kacsmaryk has demonstrated a hostility to the LGBTQ bordering on paranoia," Senate Minority Leader Chuck Schumer (D-N.Y.) said before the vote, The Washington Post reported. "It's unbelievable that this man has been nominated, and he's not alone. The parade of narrow-minded, often bigoted people who we're putting on the bench. . . . One Republican senator rightfully voiced concerns about this man's fitness. Where are the others?"

Kacsmaryk has served as deputy general counsel at First Liberty Institute, a legal firm that is dedicated to protecting religious liberty for Americans. He also served as an assistant U.S. attorney in the Northern District of Texas from 2008 to 2013.

His nomination had faced opposition from Democrats in part because of his past writings, which included him saying that being transgender was a "mental disorder," according to The Post. Kacsmaryk had also wrote that homosexuality was "disordered," the newspaper added. 

Kelly Shackelford, First Liberty Institute president and CEO, said in a statement that Kacsmaryk's confirmation was "further evidence that presidential appointees who adhere to the text of the Constitution and the Founders' original intent for our most fundamental freedoms, including religious liberty, can and will be confirmed by the U.S. Senate."

The First Liberty Institute did not immediately respond to a request for comment to The Hill. 

Some advocacy groups condemned the confirmation. Sarah Warbelow, legal director for the Human Rights Campaign, said in a statement that "Kacsmaryk is among the most anti-LGBTQ judicial nominees put forward by the Trump-Pence administration."

 

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