LGBT groups line up to oppose Donald Trump's US Supreme Court nominee

LGBT groups have voiced their concern at US President Donald Trump's nominee for the US Supreme Court. Trump today (February 1) announced conservative federal appeals court judge Neil M. Gorsuch as his nominee to fill the seat left by the the late Justice Atonin Scalia, who died just under a year ago. While reports that Gorsuch has not ruled in any cases directly addressing LGBT+ rights, the 49-year-old is a conservative figure who has called the right-wing and anti-LGBT Justice Scalia "a lion of the law." If successful, Gorsuch's nomination will restore the 5-4 conservative majority on the nine-seat court, sparking fears among LGBT+ groups about the potential effect on future "religious freedom" cases which have often enshrined anti-discrimination rights. Lambda Legal, an American legal organisation which promotes the civil rights of lesbians, gay men, and people with HIV/Aids has come out in opposition of a Supreme Court nominee for the first time, signing a joint statement of opposition with GLBTQ Advocates & Defenders and the National Center for Lesbian Rights. Lambda's chief executive, Rachel B Tiven, said in a statement: "We absolutely must not confirm a Supreme Court nominee who has ruled that the religious beliefs of employers can trump the law. It is a short hop from birth control restrictions to restrictions on the intimate relationships and healthcare needs of LGBT people. "Through his decisions, Judge Gorsuch has promoted a vision of a society where some religions prevail over others, and are invited to flout the law. "Judge Gorsuch’s judicial record is hostile toward LGBT people and his nomination to the US Supreme Court is unacceptable — we oppose." Gorsuch's nomination must be approved in the US Senate, where the issue looks set to cause a showdown between Democrats and Republicans. After Senate Republicans refused to consider Barack Obama's choice for the seat, Merrick Garland, last year, arguing the nomination came too close to an election, it appears the Democrats may go out of their way to vote down or filibuster President Trump's nomination in retaliation. More stories: Sir Ian McKellen talks life before legalisation in first ever episode of ‘Attitude Heroes’ Sydney gay killings of ’80s and ’90s inspired new Australian drama ‘Deep Water’