Amy Coney Barrett, Donald Trump’s latest nominee for Supreme Court justice, served as a trustee of private Christian schools that discriminate against LGBTQ+ people and sent some of her children to one of them.
Beginning in 2015, Barrett spent nearly two years on the board of trustees for Trinity Schools, which operates three schools, in Indiana, Minnesota, and Virginia, the Associated Press reports. The schools are affiliated with People of Praise, an interdenominational conservative Christian group that believes, among other things, that wives should be subservient to their husbands. Barrett and her husband, Jesse Barrett, have been reported to be members of the group.
At least three of the Barretts’ seven children have attended the Trinity School in South Bend, Ind., known as the Trinity School at Greenlawn, according to the AP.
The schools “effectively barred admission to children of same-sex parents and made it plain that openly gay and lesbian teachers weren’t welcome in the classroom,” the AP reports.
More than two dozen people, including former students and employees at Trinity Schools and former members of People of Praise, spoke to the AP. “They said the community’s teachings have been consistent for decades: Homosexuality is an abomination against God, sex should occur only within marriage and marriage should only be between a man and a woman,” the news service reports.
The AP also obtained a faculty employment agreement for the 2014-2015 school year that states, “Blatant sexual immorality (for example, fornication, adultery, homosexual acts, etc.) has no place in the culture of Trinity Schools.”
Trinity Schools adopted a policy in 2014 that limited admission to children of legally married couples or single parents. At the time, same-sex couples could not marry legally in Indiana or Virginia, although they could in Minnesota. The following year, it changed the policy somewhat. It reiterated the belief that marriage is strictly a male-female relationship and that sexual activity outside this relationship is “not in keeping with God’s plan,” but added, “We do not require parents to subscribe to this position, but they should understand that students will encounter it as normative in our Scripture courses, doctrine classes and other courses at Trinity School.”
Several of the AP’s sources, however, said that even after the policy change, leaders at Trinity Schools made clear that the children of LGBTQ+ people would not be welcome.
Officials with the schools said Barrett was not involved in formulating any of the policies relating to LGBTQ+ issues. Asked about the policies, they merely reiterated the belief about marriage being a male-female union only, and said the schools oppose bullying or harassment of LGBTQ+ people.
Barrett’s affiliation with Trinity Schools or People of Praise did not come up during her confirmation hearings last week. She was evasive about how she would rule on LGBTQ+ issues, although in speeches she has said the court’s marriage equality ruling was wrongly decided and the issue should have been left to each state, and has also said she does not believe sex discrimination law covers gender identity.
She is currently a judge on the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Seventh Circuit, and she has taught law at the University of Notre Dame.
The Senate Judiciary Committee is scheduled to vote Thursday on whether to advance her nomination to the full Senate, which would then vote Monday on whether to confirm her.
White House officials contacted by the AP said the publicity about her Trinity affiliation is merely an excuse to attack her. “Because Democrats and the media are unable to attack Judge Barrett’s sterling qualifications, they have instead turned to pathetic personal attacks on her children’s Christian school, even though the Supreme Court has repeatedly reaffirmed that religious schools are protected by the First Amendment,” White House spokesman Deere told the news service by email.