Last month, Sen. Cory Gardner (R-CO) attended a fundraiser for and received monetary support from the Annual Unity Fund (AUF) – a conservative LGBTQ rights group.

But that didn’t stop Gardner from approving lifetime terms for three judges with anti-LGBTQ records last week.

Despite pitching himself to Coloradans as a different kind of Republican, Gardner has been remarkably in step with the Trump administration’s judicial agenda.

He’s approved 118 of Pres. Trump’s 119 proposed nominees.

“Gardner is neither a friend nor an ally for LGBTQ Coloradans and their families,” Daniel Ramos, executive director at One Colorado – a pro-LGBTQ group, said last month.

“In the last eight years during my time at One Colorado,” Ramos said, “he has never reached out to discuss policy or legislation, and has never attended one of our events.”

The Appointees

Arguably, the most controversial of last week’s appointments was North Carolina Judge Matthew Kacsmaryk. Sen. Susan Collins (R-ME), who was also endorsed by AUF, voted to oppose Kacsmaryk’s appointment.

He has challenged the validity of gay marriage, as well as the Affordable Care Act’s coverage of contraception and the constitutionality of Roe v. Wade.

Furthermore, he’s an outspoken supporter of Colorado baker Jack Phillips’ refusal to make custom cakes for LGBTQ-related events and has signed a letter labelling transgender people “delusional.”

Kacsmaryk also formerly served as deputy general at First Liberty Institute – a group focused on religious liberty the Southern Poverty Law Center (SPLC)  has deemed an anti-LGBTQ hate group.

Gardner apparently had no problems with Judge Greg Guidry of Louisiana who has somehow refused to support Brown v. Board of Education in a state that’s one-third black.

Guidry also believes women can constitutionally be forced to disclose their reproductive health records and struck down an executive order which would have protected LGBTQ Louisianans.

Judge Allen Winsor – of Florida – was also approved by Gardner. He does not support marriage equality and is known for defending a mandatory waiting period for those seeking abortions.


Recently, Gardner has also come under fire for the way he’s handled Republican schemes to dismantle Roe v. Wade.

“Like others, Gardner threw out the Roe v. Wade as ‘settled law’ smokescreen,” the Aurora Sentinel’s Editorial Board wrote last month.

“In reality, he has since voted to approve the nominations of justices who were chosen by President Donald Trump,” the Aurora Sentinel said, “in part because of their likelihood to reverse or debilitate Roe v. Wade.”

The Human Rights Campaign – an LGBTQ rights group – says that Gardner supports equality just 16% of the time while Sen. Michael Benet (D-CO) supports it 100% of the time.

Furthermore, the Family Research Council – another organization the SPLC regards as an anti-LGBTQ hate group – gave Gardner a 100% “pro-family rating” last year.

If Gardner “was the LGBTQ ally that he claims to be,” Ramos said, “he would be enthusiastically supporting The Equality Act,” as well as “standing with the 15,000 transgender service members who are now unable to serve in the military.

“As a nonpartisan organization,” he continued, “we are proud to support our Republican allies, and he is no ally to our community.”