Citing Dangers Posed By Antigay Sodomy Laws, Lambda Legal Voices Concern Over Supreme Court Nominee Harriet Miers' Answers to Gay Rights Survey
(New York, October 4, 2005) — Statement from Kevin Cathcart, Executive Director for Lambda Legal regarding a survey Supreme Court Nominee Harriet Miers answered on gay rights while she was a candidate for Dallas City Council.
"Harriet Miers's written answers, while a candidate for Dallas City Council, to a number of questions about the rights of gays and lesbians merit very close scrutiny. We would hope that the general proposition that gay people deserve the same civil rights as everybody else isn't controversial. We nonetheless take note that Ms. Miers agreed with the proposition in 1989. What we find particularly troubling, though, is her contradictory statement that the Texas "Homosexual Conduct" law — which made it a crime for gay people to engage in sexual intimacy that was completely legal for heterosexuals — should not be repealed. As Justice Sandra Day O'Connor pointed out in her concurring opinion in Lawrence v. Texas, this law unjustly discriminated against gay people. Lambda Legal fought in the courts for five years to overturn the Texas "Homosexual Conduct" law. Two of our clients were led handcuffed from one of their apartments in the middle of the night and jailed as a result of it. We therefore find it very troubling that Ms. Miers would twice assert that the law should stand rather than be repealed.
“This new evidence makes it even more important that Harriet Miers's nomination be subjected to rigorous scrutiny during the Senate confirmation process. We do not believe that her statements in 1989 alone decide whether she is qualified to a lifetime appointment to the Supreme Court. At the same time, we firmly believe that a nominee is qualified only if she demonstrates the necessary legal intellect, experience and judicial temperament as well as a clear commitment to fairness and equality for all Americans. Ms. Miers's support for a criminal law that openly discriminated against gay people calls into serious question whether she possesses this commitment. The upcoming Senate confirmation hearings will provide the nominee with the opportunity to discuss her current thinking and demonstrate whether she is committed to fairness and equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people and all other Americans."