Gay Members Would Be Expelled by Amy Coney Barrett Religious Group

by Kevin Schattenkirk

EDGE Media Network Contributor

Thursday October 15, 2020

People of Praise, the religious organization Amy Coney Barrett served as a handmaid for, expels members who partake in gay sex, according to its current leader Craig Lent, The Guardian reports.

Without specifically referencing an incident in which a bisexual woman was kicked out of the group, Lent disclosed in a 2018 interview with the South Bend Tribune that the group — which doesn't consider itself a congregation or a church — ends the memberships of anyone engaged in homosexual activity or other incidents it considers to be "ongoing, deliberate, unrepentant wrongdoing."

Barrett, who is likely to be confirmed as a Supreme Court justice replacing the late Ruth Bader Ginsburg, an avowed progressive, has never openly discussed her affiliation with People of Praise. But one could speculate that Barrett's involvement did not extend to the expulsion of gay people, as leadership in People of Praise is reserved for men. However, it does appear as though Barrett is a longstanding member, as she served as a trustee at a school affiliated with the organization, requiring her to be a member to do so. When she was a law student at Notre Dame, she lived with a co-founder of the group; and Barrett's father has served in a leadership role.

When asked by The Guardian for comment, a spokesperson reiterated People of Praise's stance that "sexual activity is meant for marriage, understood as the union of a man and a woman."

Earlier this week during Barrett's confirmation hearings, she twice referred to non-heteronormative individuals' identities as a "sexual preference." Democratic Senator Mazie Hirono, of Hawaii, took Barrett to task stating, "not once but twice you use the term 'sexual preferences' to describe those in the LGBTQ community. Let me make clear, 'sexual preference' is an offensive and outdated term. It is used by anti-LGBTQ activists to suggest that sexual orientation is a choice."

Hirono was responding to comments that Barrett made about the landmark Obergefell v. Hodges 2015 ruling which ruled that same-sex couples could marry. Hirono continued, "that sexual orientation is both a normal expression of human sexuality and immutable was a key part of the majority's opinion in Obergefell... which, by the way, Scalia did not agree with." Barrett, a mentee of the late Justice Antonin Scalia — a vociferous opponent of expanded LGBTQ rights and protections — later explained that she believed she shouldn't comment on the ruling.

Kevin Schattenkirk is an ethnomusicologist and pop music aficionado.

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