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The following is a press release sent out by One Iowa Action on Monday:

One Iowa Action, the state’s leading lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer (LGBTQ) rights advocate and GLAAD, the world’s largest LGBTQ media advocacy organization, are releasing a compilation of Sen. Joni Ernst’s anti-LGBTQ efforts as she votes for and pledges unqualified support for Supreme Court justice nominee Amy Coney Barrett, a judge with an anti-LGBTQ record.


Sen. Ernst’s support of Judge Barrett’s nomination, in a fully partisan vote to the full Senate today, in a rushed confirmation process as Americans are currently voting, goes against Sen. Ernst’s previous view, in 2016 and again in 2018, that a sitting president should not nominate justices to the Supreme Court in an election year. When asked explicitly by the Des Moines Register editorial board in a July 2018 interview whether that should hold true for President Trump, Ernst said Trump should wait to be re-elected. “It’s precedent set,” she said at the time. “So come 2020, if there’s an opening, I’m sure you’ll remind me of that.”

Reminded of her words again in September of 2020, Sen. Ernst claimed that because the presidency and Senate are led by Republicans, rather than a divided government, that the nomination should go forward. Sen. Ernst took no initiative or responsibility to question the rushed confirmation hearings: “However the committee decides to proceed is how I’ll decide to proceed.” Nor did she spent any time allotted at the confirmation hearings last week evaluating Judge Barrett’s record including her stated views against marriage equality, her work at a school with a disturbing history of discriminating against LGBTQ students, teachers and families, her rulings against access to abortion and her criticism of the Affordable Care Act. Sen. Ernst instead used her time during the hearing to focus on Judge Barrett’s gender and to accuse Democrats of attacking the judge’s religious beliefs, even though Republicans were the only ones bringing up religion at the hearings.

Sen. Ernst also failed to follow up on Judge Barrett’s false claim that she does not discriminate against people’s “sexual preference,” when Judge Barrett has been a board member of a school that did discriminate against LGBTQ students and families, reportedly inflicting lasting harm on innocent children. Sen. Ernst has signed onto a brief to the U.S. Supreme Court, defending a taxpayer-funded foster care agency’s right to discriminate against qualified same-sex couples, a case the Court will hear next week, Nov. 4, the day after Election Day.

“Sen. Ernst’s behavior and record shows she is first and foremost beholden to her party, rather than what’s best for Iowans,” said One Iowa Action’s Executive Director, Courtney Reyes. “Her priorities and loyalties are clearly not to the people whose health care and marriages are threatened by the actions of the Trump administration and the judges Pres. Trump has appointed, all of whom Sen. Ernst has confirmed without hesitation despite their anti-LGBTQ records, at grave consequences to LGBTQ Iowans.”

Sen. Ernst’s anti-LGBTQ record stretches back to her time as a state senator. Years after Iowa led the way among midwestern states in legalizing marriage equality in 2009, Ernst worked to overturn it. Sen. Ernst, a military veteran, also voted against benefits for children of servicemembers, as well as same-sex spouses and survivors. Sen. Ernst has stood with anti-LGBTQ activists labeled hate groups by the Southern Poverty Law Center. Her anti-LGBTQ record also includes:

  • June 3, 2020: Signs brief for U.S. Supreme Court to defend taxpayer-funded agency’s right to reject qualified same-sex couples looking to become foster parents, a case the Court will hear on Nov. 4.
  • Feb. 1, 2019: Expressed support for allowing taxpayer-funded adoption and foster care agencies to discriminate against same-sex couples on the basis of religious beliefs during a town hall event. The Trump Justice Department is fighting to the Supreme Court, for the third time, for a taxpayer-funded agency’s right to discriminate, in a case that will be heard by the Court on November 4, the day after Election Day.
  • July 26, 2017: Despite initially criticizing the Trump administration’s plan to ban transgender people from military service, Sen. Ernst also said the government should stop paying for gender confirmation surgeries and later did not join in supporting a bipartisan effort to protect those servicemembers.
  • Sen. Ernst has been a featured speaker numerous times at the Family Leadership Summit organized by anti-LGBTQ group The Family Leader, which is affiliated with the Family Research Council, which has been labeled a hate group by the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC). The group gained national prominence for its “The Marriage Vow” pledge, which it asked 2012 presidential hopefuls to sign, vowing to oppose same-sex marriage and civil unions, as well as same-sex and single parenting, and to allow for anti-LGBTQ discrimination on the basis of religious beliefs. The vow also included language condemning judges it said had “personally rejected heterosexuality and monogamy,” and argued for separating LGB soldiers from their fellow same-sex servicemembers in “restrooms, showers, barracks, tents, etc.”
  • July 14, 2015: voted against an amendment which sought to protect LGBTQ students from discrimination in public schools, grades K-12
  • June 26, 2015: released a statement criticizing the Obergefell v. Hodges ruling legalizing marriage equality nationwide, saying she was “disappointed by the Supreme Court’s decision and its failure to recognize the freedom of our states to make their own decisions about their respective marriage laws… “While it is my personal belief that marriage is between one man and one woman, I maintain that this is an issue best handled at the state level,” she added.
  • June 4, 2015, just weeks before marriage equality was legalized nationwide, Ernst voted against an amendment to provide benefits to the same-sex spouses of veterans and their children in states where their marriages weren’t recognized.
  • Voted against an amendment, in 2015, to ensure same-sex spouses had equal access to Social Security and veterans benefits.
    In 2012, co-sponsored an Iowa state constitutional amendment that would have defined marriage as between a man and a woman.
  • “I do believe that marriage is between one man and one woman, and I also believe that this is a state’s right,” she said during a debate in 2014, while running for U.S. Senate. She also said she would support a federal constitutional amendment to define marriage as between a man and a woman.

Sen. Ernst’s anti-LGBTQ record has earned her a profile [LINK] on GLAAD’s Trump Accountability Project, which tracks negative policies and rhetoric from President Trump, his administration and staff, and now, his supporters in the U.S. Senate. Sen. Ernst is among the first sitting senators to earn a profile on the project based on their anti-LGBTQ records.

Author: Press Release


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