The U.S. Senate on Tuesday confirmed
Kyle Duncan, who as a lawyer worked to block LGBT rights, to the
Fifth Circuit Court of Appeals.
According to the
Blade, the 50-47 vote was along party lines.
The Fifth Circuit has jurisdiction over
Texas, Louisiana and Mississippi.
Duncan previously criticized the
Supreme Court's 2015 finding in Obergefell that gay and
lesbian couples have a constitutional right to marry. Duncan, who
filed a brief in the case on behalf of 15 states opposed to extending
marriage rights to gay couples, called the ruling an “abject
failure” and argued that the decision was invalid because it
“raises a question about the legitimacy of the court.” He also
defended Virginia and Louisiana's marriage bans in cases challenging
Duncan also worked on two high-profile
cases involving transgender rights. One case involved Gavin Grimm, a
teen who challenged his school's refusal to allow him to use the
bathroom of his choice. And he defended North Carolina Republican
lawmakers in their attempt to keep in place House Bill 2, which
prohibited transgender people from using the bathroom of their choice
in public buildings.
The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the
nation's largest LGBT rights advocate, called Duncan's record of
opposition to LGBT rights “alarming” and criticized the Trump
administration for putting forward an “extremist, anti-LGBTQ”
“In a string of anti-equality
nominees from the Trump-Pence administration, Kyle Duncan stands out
for his long career fighting to limit the legal protections for LGBTQ
Americans,” said David Stacy, HRC Government Affairs Director.
"Americans deserve judges we can trust to apply our laws
faithfully and administer equal justice under those laws. Kyle Duncan
fails that test. It is unconscionable that the Senate has rubber
stamped yet another unfit and extreme nominee to a lifetime
appointment to the federal bench.”