President Trump is facing calls to withdraw yet another judicial nominee who was recently revealed to have stated anti-LGBT views. In this case, the pick called the Supreme Court’s 2015 ruling same-sex marriage “an assault on nature” and “against God’s plan.”
Gordon Giampietro, whom Trump nominated for a position as a federal judge in Wisconsin, was revealed to have made the comments in 2015 during interviews with Lydia LoCoco, a social conservative who hosts a faith-based radio show. Buzzfeed was first to report the news Thursday.
At one point during the interview, Giampietro called same-sex relationships “troubled” and affirmed children raised by opposite-sex parents fare better — despite studies and information debunking that notion.
“No one would disagree with the fact that children, all the social science research shows this, are best raised by a man and a woman,” Giampietro said. “This is natural, this is the truth, and it’s irrefutable. And so I think it has to be articulated in a way which isn’t dismissive of those troubled relationships, but it is reaffirming of the truth of marriage.”
Although Giampietro urged people to read the Obergefell decision, he said they could “ignore Justice Anthony Kennedy’s opinion, because it’s not really legal reasoning.”
It wasn’t the only pro-LGBT Supreme Court ruling criticized by Giampietro, who said Kennedy “went off the rails” with the 2003 decision in Lawrence v. Texas. The landmark decision, deemed uncontroversial, struck down state sodomy bans throughout the country.
Giampietro also said the Obergefell ruling was “worse than Roe,” the 1973 Supreme Court decision guaranteeing a woman’s right to an abortion throughout the United States.
Questioned by LoCoco on whether the Obergefell ruling meant textbooks for school children would as result of the ruling now pictures of same-sex couples, Giampietro replied, “Absolutely, absolutely.”
Giampietro also agreed the decision would lead to the legalization of polygamy, citing the dissent by Chief Justice John Roberts to assert “there really is no principled reason to say polygamy isn’t the next thing to go.”
When LoCoco said the decision demonstrates her husband was right to rave birth control was responsible for every problem in society, Giampietro agreed and called it an “assault on nature.” Giampietro also linked that characterization to the same-sex marriage ruling by saying it applies “not just with respect to contraception and marriage.”
“Whenever you go against God’s plan, bad things are gonna happen,” Giampietro added.
News about Giampietro’s remarks prompted calls from LGBT rights advocates for Trump to withdraw his choice of the nominee for a federal judgeship in Texas.
Wendy Strout, the Human Rights Campaign’s Wisconsin state manager, said on Twitter the remarks demonstrate Giampietro is unfit for the bench and he should be withdrawn.
“In light of this deeply disturbing 2015 audio recording, @HRC calls on the immediate withdrawal of Gordon Giampietro’s nomination,” Strout tweeted. “His extreme anti-#LGBTQ rhetoric cannot be rewarded with a lifetime appointment representing Wisconsin on the federal court.”
While the remarks of the nominee stand out, the Trump administration has been accused of consistently selecting judicial nominees with anti-LGBT records. The LGBT legal group Lambda Legal has estimated that one-third of Trump’s judicial nominees are anti-LGBT.
Sharon McGowan, Direct of Strategy at Lambda Legal, said although Giampietro’s comments are consistent with other nominees, the remarks in particular make him unfit for the bench.
“The vitriolic and incendiary anti-LGBT rhetoric from Giampietro captured in this recording, while shocking and disturbing, is unfortunately par for the course with respect to many of the judicial nominees coming out of this White House,” McGowan said. “But even if it is becoming commonplace, we must never treat this as normal. That is why Lambda Legal is calling on the Trump Administration to immediately rescind this nomination.”
But Giampietro’s controversial remarks weren’t just limited to LGBT issues. Buzzfeed also reported in 2014 that Giampietro wrote on the website called the Catholic Thing “calls for diversity” are “code for relaxed standards (moral and intellectual).”
The now-deleted blog post to which Giampietro was responding was apparently in opposition to the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Giampietro commented the author of the blog post was “exactly right to trace the intrusion into private business to the Civil Right Act,” but added he’d go back farther to “the original sin of slavery.” Without slavery, Giampietro wrote, there’d be “no racial spoils system, no calls for diversity.”
Nan Aron, president of Alliance for Justice, said in a statement the views Giampietro expressed “are so hostile and biased that they are frankly breathtaking.”
“These tapes completely undermine any confidence the public could have had that a Judge Giampietro would be an open-minded and fair arbiter of cases involving LGBTQ rights, women’s rights, and other critical legal rights and protections,” Aron said. “His nomination must be withdrawn and replaced with that of an individual Wisconsinites can trust to respect the rights of all.”
According to a White House bio, Giampietro is an assistant general counsel of the Northwestern Mutual Life Insurance Company. Prior to that role, Giampietro spent 13 years as an assistant United States Attorney for the Eastern District of Wisconsin. Giampietro earned both his bachelor’s degree with high honors in philosophy and his law degree from the Catholic University of America in D.C.
Giampietro hasn’t yet received a hearing from the Senate Judiciary Committee. According to Buzzfeed, Sen. Tammy Baldwin (D-Wis.) hasn’t yet signaled her approval of the judicial nominee for her state by submitting a “blue slip” to the committee. In years past, that would have blocked the nominee from going forward, but Senate Judiciary Committee Chair Sen. Charles Grassley (R-Iowa) recently changed the process so judicial would be able to move forward anyway.
It remains to be seen whether the White House will withdraw the nomination or the U.S. Senate will reject Giampietro. When Jeff Mateer, a Texas assistant attorney general whom Trump nominated for a federal judgeship, was revealed to have called trans nominees “Satan’s plan,” the outcry from LGBT groups prompted the White House to declare he wouldn’t move forward. Trump declined to renominate him when he appointment stalled in the Senate.
Should Giampietro be appointed to the federal bench, he’d be bound by the Obergfell decision as precedent for any challenges to the decision that would come before him, making a ruling from him against the decision extremely difficult. Giampietro wouldn’t be able to overturn the Obergefell from his position as a trial court judge.
The White House didn’t respond to a request to comment for this article. Giampietro couldn’t be reached for comment.