Donald Trump Keeps Losing in the Courts, so He’s Trying to Take Them Over

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October 30, 2017
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Photo by: Gage Skidmore

In yet another blow to the Trump administration’s attack on transgender people, a federal court today temporarily blocked Donald Trump’s ban on transgender military service members.

You might be asking: What will Trump do when his anti-LGBT agenda can’t win in court?

Well, we know the unfortunate answer.

He’ll pack the courts with homophobic, biphobic and transphobic ideologues.

Today, Donald Trump’s extreme anti-LGBT judicial nominee to the powerful U.S. Court of Appeals for the Eighth Circuit, Leonard Steven Grasz, just received a NOT QUALIFIED rating from the American Bar Association. That’s a BIG DEAL. This is only the third unanimous NQ from the ABA since 1989, and the other two nominees were not confirmed.

Here’s everything you need to know about Trump’s anti-LGBT judge pick, Steven Grasz.

Since 2015, Steven Grasz has served on the Board of the Nebraska Family Alliance.

  • He is currently its Board Director.
  • The Nebraska Family Alliance is a religious-based organization affiliated with Focus on the Family that has advocated extensively against LGBT rights.
  • Steven Grasz’s family connections to the anti-LGBT Nebraska Family Alliance run deep. His son, Nate Grasz, currently serves as Director of Policy for the organization.

Steven Grasz views marriage equality as a “threat.”

  • While Steven Grasz served as Director of the Board, the Family Alliance published a piece detailing how the Supreme Court’s marriage equality ruling in “Obergefell threatens freedom.”
  • Family Alliance’s view is that same-sex couples and their families are “less optimal” than different-sex couples and their families. Steven Grasz was Director of the Board when the Family Alliance filed an amicus brief in Obergefell v Hodges, arguing that only the parenting of “a mother and a father[,]” rather than a same-sex couple, “provides children with the optimal environment for their cognitive, social, and emotional development from infancy through adolescence.” 
  • After the Obergefell ruling, the Nebraska Family Alliance issued a statement saying of the decision that "It redefines marriage to be a genderless relationship based upon the emotions of adults." Alliance Executive Director Al Riskowski said the decision hardly settles the gay marriage issue. If anything, it will be "seen as a ruling that’s going to create many more problems for us as a nation than it’s going to solve."
  • As Chief Deputy Attorney General of Nebraska, Steven Grasz opposed the recognition in Nebraska of same-sex marriages contracted in other states. In an opinion signed by Grasz, he stated, “[t]here is, however, a grave danger that the Nebraska Supreme Court might well recognize same-sex marriages performed in Hawaii as being valid in Nebraska.”

Steven Grasz supports conversion therapy.

  • The Family Alliance published articles supporting the dangerous and inhumane practice of conversion therapy. Every leading medical and therapeutic organization, including the American Psychological Association and the American Medical Association has unanimously and unequivocally recognized that LGBT people's identities should not be targeted for change.
  • As policy director for this Family Alliance, Steven Grasz’s son authored a piece claiming that the science behind these types of therapies is “far from settled” and that bans deny parents the right “to seek a counselor for their children that aligns with their family values.”
  • The Family Alliance and authored a piece that argues against bans on conversion therapy. In one piece Steven Grasz’s son wrote: “Conversion therapy bans for minors trample on parental rights and decrease options for young people struggling with unwanted same-sex attraction or gender dysphoria.”

Steven Grasz would be dangerous for transgender people.

  • The Family Alliance has also fought policies that protect the rights of transgender students and expressed concern about transgender students coming out in school. One article posted by the Alliance claims that ““If transgendered males or females may use the opposite sex’s facilities, it raises safety concerns.”
  • The Family Alliance has claimed that “[a] generation of children is being raised to believe in the social construct of a gender spectrum, instead of the biological reality of male and female. This is a trend that should be rejected at every level.” 

Steven Grasz opposes legal protections for LGBT people.

  • Steven Grasz advocated for an amendment to the City of Omaha Charter that would have allowed for discrimination by employers against LGBTQ employees under the guise of religious liberty. When asked by a fellow Convention member if this amendment would “create an exemption for business owners who don’t want to hire gays and lesbians to circumvent or do any end run around the city human rights ordinance,” Grasz responded “Yes.” 
  • The Family Alliance argues that the terms “sexual orientation” and “gender identity” describe “behaviors,” rather than “traits” like race.

Steven Grasz’s appointment to the federal 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.

Stand with Lambda Legal to demand that his nomination be blocked.