The Human Rights Campaign (HRC) is calling for action against Leslie Southwick, current nominee for the U.S. Court of Appeals for the Fifth Circuit.
People For the American Way reports that in 2001, Southwick joined a ruling to take an 8-year-old girl away from her mother in part because the mother was living with another woman in a “lesbian home.” Southwick joined a concurrence which noted Mississippi’s right under “the principles of Federalism” to treat “homosexual persons” as second-class citizens. The affirmation suggested that sexual orientation is a choice and stated that an adult is not “relieved of the consequences of his or her choice”. In other words, losing custody of one’s child is a result of being lesbian or gay.
Southwick went so far as to cite Mississippi’s irrelevant sodomy laws, which have since been invalidated. He focused on “the practice of homosexuality” – refusing to even mention gay individuals as human beings. And cited Mississippi’s law prohibiting same-sex couples from adopting children – even though this was not an adoption case.
The American Psychiatric Association (APA) has long held that sexual orientation is not a “choice,” and that lesbian and gay parents are just as successful as their heterosexual counterparts.
In 1998, Southwick joined a ruling in an employment case that upheld the reinstatement of a white state employee who was fired for calling an African American co-worker a “good ole nigger.” The court’s decision effectively said the slur was only “somewhat derogatory” and “was in effect calling the individual a ‘teacher’s pet.’”
If approved to the Court of Appeals, Southwick’s appointment would be for life.
The New York Times published an editorial titled ‘An Unacceptable Nominee’ on June 5.
The Human Rights Campaign offers an easy way for you to help. Write your Senators today, telling them to say “no” to Southwick’s nomination – and yes to protecting justice for all Americans.