Last edited: November 08, 2003

Human Rights Campaign Decries Advancement of Pryor Nomination to Senate Vote

Pryor Has Track Record of Attacking GLBT and Other Americans

HRC Calls on Fair-Minded Leaders from Both Parties to Vote Against Confirmation

Human Rights Campaign, July 25, 2003
Contact: David M. Smith
Phone: (202) 216-1547
Cell: (202) 716-1639

Contact: Mark Shields
Phone: (202) 216-1564
Cell: (202) 716-1637

WASHINGTON—The Human Rights Campaign today decried the advancement of William Pryor’s 11th Circuit Court of Appeals nomination after Wednesday’s Senate Judiciary Committee vote. Pryor’s nomination now moves on to a vote by the full Senate. HRC continues to vigorously oppose the Pryor nomination and calls upon all fair-minded Senators to oppose the nomination when it is considered on the Senate floor.

“William Pryor has actively sought opportunities to marginalize gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender Americans throughout his career. It is very unlikely that he would be able to set aside his personal views and make clear, unbiased decisions as a federal judge,” said HRC Political Director Winnie Stachelberg. “We are calling on all fair minded leaders in the Senate to vote against this nomination, and instead work to confirm a nominee who will treat all Americans equally under the law, free from bias and discrimination.”

More than 160 diverse and disparate groups including B’nai B’rith International, the Log Cabin Republicans, Family USA, the Environmental Law Foundation, the NAACP and the AFL-CIO have formally opposed Pryor’s nomination.

As Alabama’s attorney general, Pryor utilized state resources to directly and indirectly attack GLBT Americans in his state and across the country. He linked the state attorney general’s website to vehemently anti-GLBT groups, including the Family Research Council and the American Center for Law and Justice, which regularly litigates cases against GLBT rights. In contrast, his website does not make any links to groups that support GLBT civil rights.

Although most states with sodomy statutes on their books did not file briefs in defense of their laws, Pryor filed an amicus (“friend of the court”) brief in the Lawrence v. Texas, the Supreme Court case challenging Texas’s sodomy law. Two states joined Alabama’s amicus brief in supporting discriminatory state sodomy laws. Nine states with such laws on their books did not file briefs to defend their laws. Many briefs, one of which was signed by the Human Rights Campaign, were filed to urge the court to strike down sodomy laws.

Pryor’s brief likens homosexuality to incest, necrophilia, pedophilia, prostitution and adultery. He also argues in the brief that sodomy is a chosen behavior unworthy of constitutional protection, and fails to recognize GLBT individuals as people worthy of the same constitutional rights and protections that other Americans take for granted.

In a landmark ruling, the Supreme Court struck down state sodomy laws in 13 states on the basis that they violate Americans constitutional right to privacy. The ruling made clear that GLBT Americans have fundamental rights to liberty and privacy.

“Mr. Pryor’s remarks are out of step with medical and scientific data, and even the understanding of most mainstream Americans who increasingly support equality under the law,” said Stachelberg. “This kind of bias should not be rewarded with a lifelong appointment to the federal bench. HRC is calling on the Senate to oppose this nomination, which is an affront to all fair-minded Americans.”

The Human Rights Campaign is the largest national lesbian and gay political organization with members throughout the country. It effectively lobbies Congress, provides campaign support and educates the public to ensure that lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender Americans can be open, honest and safe at home, at work and in the community.


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