President Trump is looking for a replacement Attorney General after ousting Jeff Sessions earlier this year. Trump described William Barr, his new nominee for the position, as “one of the most respected jurists in the country,” but Barr out to have a disturbing anti-LGBTQ record and appears to believe that LGBTQ equality has “led to America’s decline.”
Barr, who was also the attorney general under George H.W. Bush between 1991-1993, has a history of promoting sexist and anti-gay ideas. In 1995, he penned an essay called “Legal Issues in a New Political Order” for The Catholic Lawyer, a law journal. In the essay, which was reprinted as recently as last year, Barr criticized “the homosexual movement,” argued for laws that would “restrain sexual immorality” and complained about the degradation of “traditional values” at a time when queer activists were demanding recognition. He also criticized laws that made it easier for women to divorce and access abortions.
As Attorney General under Bush, Barr also oversaw a program that sent thousands of HIV-positive Haitian asylum seekers to the prison camp at Guantanamo Bay, which was described by some as an “HIV detention camp.” Barr fought to ban immigrants with HIV from entering the U.S. at all.
According to GLAAD, Barr also praised the former Attorney General Sessions for attempting to dismantle the civil rights of transgender people and arguing that there is no compelling government interest in prohibiting anti-LGBTQ discrimination.
If confirmed as Attorney General, Barr would be the top lawyer in the country and would have a significant influence on the administration’s stance on civil rights, including the rights of woman and LGBTQ people. Barr could easily pick up where Jeff Sessions left off in promoting anti-LGBTQ policies and directing the government not to focus on litigating cases where the rights of women and queer people are at stake.