The mother of murdered gay teenager Matthew Shepard has delivered a powerful message about the need for LGBT+ equality to Donald Trump’s Supreme Court nominee Amy Coney Barrett.
The LGBT+ community was left in shock when Trump announced the anti-gay Catholic judge as his pick to fill the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s seat in the country’s highest court.
Now, Judy Shepard has implored Barrett to see reason and support the LGBT+ community.
When asked what she would say to Barrett if given the chance, Judy Shepard told MSNBC: “Parent to parent, mom to mom, I would say, Amy, if your child comes out as gay, I hope you understand that that’s who they are. It’s not a choice. It’s nothing you did. It’s just who they are.”
She added: “People are people, and I would hate to think that you would reject one of your children because they happen to be gay. We’re all humans trying to fight for the same things, which is acceptance and a good life and safety in our workplace and in our homes.
“I hope that she would recognise that as a human being.”
Mother of Matthew Shepard reacted with ‘fear’ when she heard Amy Coney Barrett had been nominated to the Supreme Court.
The activist also said that her initial reaction to Barrett’s nomination was one of fear.
“If we have a court that is so set on not helping marginalised communities achieve equality, I think we’re all in trouble.”
Matthew Shepard was a 21-year-old gay college student who was beaten, tortured and left to die in an anti-gay hate crime in 1998. His killers claimed that they had only intended to rob him but were moved to murder when Shepard made sexual advances towards them.
The case became one of the most prominent examples of the “gay panic” defence being used in an attempt to justify a homophobic hate crime, and it sparked a campaign to extend protections towards the LGBT+ community.
Many have expressed concern over Barrett’s nomination to the Supreme Court due to her anti-gay beliefs and membership of a religious group that declares that husbands are the leaders of their wives.
She has previously expressed her view that marriage is between a man and a woman, and in 2015, she signed a letter to the Ordinary Synod of Bishops on the Family declaring her support for “the Church’s teachings… on the meaning of human sexuality, the significance of sexual difference and the complentarity of men and women; on openness to life… and on marriage and family founded on the indissoluble commitment of a man and a woman.”