William Barr, President Donald Trump’s pick for Attorney General, was confirmed by the U.S. Senate on Thursday (February 14).
The vote for the most part followed party lines, with Republicans voting to confirm and Democrats voting against. However, three Democrats voted in favor of Barr, according to Gay Star News: Krysten Sinema, the first openly bisexual senator; Doug Jones of Alabama; and Joe Manchin of West Virginia.
Barr has a strong anti-LGBTQ history – even saying that the fight for LGBTQ equality in America has “led to America’s decline” – which is why many LGBTQ advocacy groups, like GLAAD, have denounced his confirmation.
“It’s alarming and upsetting that a person citing LGBTQ people as a reason for the decline of the United States will now serve as the nation’s top law enforcement official,” Sarah Kate Ellis, President and CEO of GLAAD, said in a statement. “There’s little doubt that William Barr will carry on this Administration’s ongoing efforts at rolling back the progress LGBTQ Americans have made in recent years. This confirmation today reminds us once again that the Trump Administration is no friend to us.”
The ACLU also tweeted that they’d be closely monitoring the new Attorney General.
William Barr has been confirmed as attorney general. His new job is to enforce the law for all, and we will hold him to it.
If the Department of Justice continues the unconstitutional policies and practices of his predecessor, we will see Barr in court.
— ACLU (@ACLU) February 14, 2019
During Barr’s Senate confirmation testimony last month, he defended the government’s idea to hold asylum seekers with HIV in prison camps. He also suggested that LGBTQ people wouldn’t be protected under the Civil Rights Act of 1964 if he was confirmed.
As for Barr’s anti-LGBTQ history, he wrote an Op-Ed which praised former Attorney General Jeff Sessions for rolling back the enforcement of civil rights protections for transgender people, condemned Georgetown University for treating “homosexual activist groups like any other student group,” criticized the attention shown to the “homosexual movement,” and led “a fierce struggle in which the Justice Department prevailed over public health experts” in maintaining the ban on people living with HIV entering the U.S.