Metro Weekly

LGBTQ groups demand Senate reject anti-gay judicial nominee Gordon Giampietro

Judicial nominee has come under criticism for statements disparaging same-sex marriage and LGBTQ rights

Gordon Giampietro – Photo: Northwestern Mutual.

LGBTQ groups are demanding that the Senate reject President Trump’s nomination of Gordon Giampietro to the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Wisconsin over comments he made disparaging same-sex marriage and adoption.

In a letter sent to U.S. senators on Wednesday, a coalition of more than 40 national, state, and local LGBTQ organizations outlined their objections to Giampietro, citing a history of comments that seem to express hostility toward LGBTQ people.

Giampietro has said that “calls for diversity,” including LGBTQ diversity, are “code for relaxed standards (moral and intellectual),” mocked Supreme Court Justice Anthony Kennedy for deciding cases that expand LGBTQ rights, and said that same-sex marriages are heavily focused on the “sex act” between two partners as opposed to the love between them or their ability to raise children together.

“Mr. Giampietro seems to combine the worst traits of two previously withdrawn nominees. Like Jeff Mateer, whose nomination failed to move forward because of his transphobic and homophobic speeches, Mr. Giampietro has repeatedly broadcasted his hostility toward LGBT people and rights,” the coalition’s letter reads. “And like Brett Talley, who failed to disclose relevant information on his Senate questionnaire, Mr. Giampietro withheld key materials on the application he filed with Wisconsin’s Federal Nominating Commission.”

After BuzzFeed News reported that Mr. Giampietro had failed to disclose some online comments he had made to the Wisconsin Federal Nominating Commission, Barbara Quindel, a member of the commission, said that, had the commission known of some of Giampietro’s more inflammatory comments, they would not have approved his name for consideration.

“Mr. Giampietro’s appointment to the bench would cause grave harm to the LGBT community, as well as many other communities who rely on the federal judiciary to administer fair and impartial justice,” the coalition partners wrote in their letter to senators.

“Unlike attorneys who seek to claim that they were merely advancing the views of their client, Mr. Giampietro has expended significant personal effort to promote discrimination against LGBT people,” the letter continues. “And his false, hateful, and derogatory statements about vulnerable minorities make Mr. Giampietro demonstrably unfit for a job as a federal judge. More than just a lack of knowledge and temperament, Mr. Giampietro’s comments reveal a level of ideological fervor that is incompatible with judicial service.”

The coalition partners express concern that Giampietro will be unable to be impartial in cases involving LGBTQ plaintiffs or defendants, and would use his position to engage in judicial activism by rescinding or curtailing LGBTQ protections.

“The American people want judges who are fair-minded constitutionalists and who value equality and justice for all — simple as that,” said Sharon McGowan, the director of strategy at Lambda Legal, which is one of the lead coalition partners.

“It doesn’t take a rocket scientist to see that Mr. Giampietro lacks the credibility and integrity to be an impartial judge and we certainly should not reward him for misleading the Wisconsin Federal Nominating Commission and the people of Wisconsin,” McGowan added. “When the White House, Senate Republicans, and the Heritage Foundation put forward nominees like Gordon Giampietro, it amounts to nothing more than a waste of taxpayer dollars.”

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John Riley is the local news reporter for Metro Weekly. He can be reached at jriley@metroweekly.com

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