While LGBT advocates sound alarms about Kavanaugh, opponents of same-sex marriage are applauding his nomination, though not necessarily focusing on its potential impact on gay rights.

Gay-rights supporters who thronged the Supreme Court plaza after justices declared same-sex marriage a constitutional right expect to have little to celebrate if Brett Kavanaugh replaces Justice Anthony Kennedy, the author of all the court’s major gay-rights rulings. None of Kavanaugh’s roughly 300 opinions as an appellate judge deals directly with LGBT issues, but his approach to judging leads some scholars and activists to believe he is unlikely to echo Kennedy’s votes.

At Kavanaugh’s 2006 confirmation hearing for his current post as an appellate judge — before the Supreme Court ruling that legalized same-sex marriage nationwide — he was asked whether he had a view on the definition of marriage and whether courts or legislatures should establish it. Kavanaugh didn’t say, instead responding to a part of the question about judicial restraint.

“Throughout our history, we’ve seen that some of the worst moments in the Supreme Court history have been moments of judicial activism, where courts have imposed their own policy preferences” instead of interpreting the law, he said.

With sparse evidence about Kavanaugh’s views on LGBT matters, observers are parsing his record for clues to how he might vote.

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Victor van der Meer

Founder & Director of My Rainbow Net Pty. Ltd.

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