Is Merrick Garland Pro-Gay Marriage? The SCOTUS Nominee Has A Limited Record On Marriage Equality
Those in legal circles around the country were well aware of Merrick Garland long before he'd been tapped by President Obama as a U.S. Supreme Court nominee. The esteemed judge's experience and moderate stance has made him a potentially safe bet for an administration that has to worry about even securing a hearing. Many are wondering where Garland stands on hot-button issues in which the rulings will resonate for years to come, such as reproductive rights and LGBTQ issues. For that reason, it may be troubling to learn that it remains to be seen whether Merrick Garland is pro-gay marriage or not. His record on marriage equality is incredibly limited.
There have been very few cases that Garland has ruled on in relation to LGBTQ rights, but his decisions include a ruling against a low-powered educational FM station reportedly serving the queer community that sought protection under the First Amendment. It appears as if Garland's decision was less about the content transmitting over the airwaves and more about which wattage designations secured such free speech protection. Though his stance on gay marriage is still unknown, many prominent LGBTQ activists and organizations appear hopeful. For now, many people are primarily focused on Garland securing an expedient hearing process and being confirmed sooner rather than later.
Following the announcement that Garland had been chosen as Obama's SCOTUS nominee, The Human Rights Campaign praised the nomination and issued a statement that focused on the importance of keeping LGBTQ issues at the forefront. The organization had this to say about Obama's continued commitment towards equality, essentially putting their faith in the president:
President Obama’s incredible legacy of achievement on LGBT equality remains unmatched in our country’s history. Not only has he appointed two pro-equality Associate Justices to the Supreme Court — Justices Sonia Sotomayor and Elena Kagan — but he’s also named a record 10 openly LGBT judges to the federal bench. HRC fully hopes that in Judge Garland, we will find another well-qualified justice who will uphold the Constitution and rule fairly on issues important to the LGBT community.
Similar organizations echoed The Human Rights Campaign's statement, including The National LGBTQ Task Force as well as Lambda Legal, the latter of which has launched a petition demanding that the Senate Judiciary Committee go through the confirmation process in a timely manner. Though little can be said about Garland's record in regards to gay marriage and similar LGBTQ issues, it appears that the bigger problem at hand is the circumstances surrounding his nomination.