Supreme Court Justice Amy Coney Barrett’s faith could prove to be an issue in an upcoming LGBT case, according to former members of a Christian group.
Former members of the group called the People of Praise spoke with The Guardian about Barrett’s involvement in an upcoming case that will decide whether private business owners can decline their services to potential clients when it comes to their sexual orientation, as the outlet reported.
According to The Guardian, the former members cite Barrett’s previous time serving on the board of Trinity Schools Inc., a private group of Christian schools affiliated with the People of Praise.
The private group reportedly prohibited children of same-sex parents to attend the school.
Maura Sullivan, a woman raised in the People of Praise community in South Bend, Indiana, told the outlet, “I don’t believe that someone in her position, who is a member of this group, could put those biases aside, especially in a decision like the one coming up.”
Sullivan said she identifies as bisexual and and reflected on the moment of coming out to her parents, who were also members of the group, when she was 19.
“They decided that I wasn’t allowed to be around my sister, who was 13 at the time, without them around, because I could ‘influence’ her in bad ways. Stuff like that. So I had a tenuous relationship with my family,” she said.
Sullivan added, “To be cut off from my family was the ultimate loss of community.”
She explained she has since repaired the relationship with her parents as they are no longer members of the group.
Kevin Connolly, a former member of the group and the brother of the group’s chief spokesperson, claimed People of Praise “has deeply entrenched anti-gay values that negatively affect the lives of real people, including vulnerable youth. These values show up in the everyday policies of the People of Praise and their schools. They are policies that are way outside the mainstream, and most Americans would be disturbed by them.”
The Guardian pointed out Connolly previously shared comments publicly about physical abuse he suffered from his father.
Jonathan Entin, a constitutional law professor at Case Western University, commented on the calls for Barrett to recuse herself from the case.
“I think there is not a strong legal argument for her recusal if the basis for the suggestion is the views of the group that they attribute to her,” Entin told The Washington Examiner.
He continued, “Supreme Court justices have views and are connected with a lot of organizations, a lot of groups just in general, and that’s not enough.”
Entin suggested it would be “a different situation if that group were a party to the case.”
Barrett has previously described herself as a “faithful Catholic,” as The New York Times reported.
The newspaper noted People of Praise’s “close-knit style arose out of the 1960s when hippie ideals — that living in deep community with others was superior to being alone — entered Catholic life.”
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