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State Supreme Court Candidate Brian Hagedorn Backs School That Bans Homosexuals

Conservative-Backed Candidate Says His Religious Beliefs Can Exist Separately From Judicial Rulings

Wisconsin Supreme Court
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State Supreme Court candidate Brian Hagedorn sits on the board of a school that bans gay teachers, students and parents, a position liberal advocacy groups say disqualifies him from sitting on the state’s highest court.

Hagedorn helped found and sits on the board of the Augustine Academy, a Christian elementary school in Delafield.

The school’s code of conduct bars students, parents and teachers from “participating in immoral sexual activity (defined as any form of touching or nudity for the purpose of evoking sexual arousal apart from the context of marriage between one man and one woman).”

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Teachers who violate the policy can be dismissed and students can be expelled for their or their parents’ actions.

The school’s “Statement of Faith” also speaks against transgender individuals.

“In God’s wise purposes, men and women are not simply interchangeable, nor is gender subject to one’s personal preferences,” the statement reads. “It is biologically established by God for his glory.”

Speaking at a Capitol press conference on Thursday, Wendy Strout, state director for Human Rights Campaign, a LGBTQ advocacy group, said Hagedorn’s involvement with the school should disqualify him from a seat on the state’s high court.

“If elected, it is clear that Brian Hagedorn would further erode protections for some of our most vulnerable communities,” Strout said. “Wisconsinites could not count on him to uphold their civil rights.”

Hagedorn has also taken criticism in recent months for blog posts he wrote during law school that equated homosexuality to bestiality and were sharply critical of abortion.

Hagedorn, who serves as a judge on the District 2 Court of Appeals, has defended his writing by saying he wouldn’t bring personal opinions to his legal work. He has also pushed back on the criticisms, calling them attacks on his faith.

“His job is to say what the law is and not what he thinks the law should be,” Hagedorn’s campaign said Thursday. “He is running for the Supreme Court to protect religious freedoms for all Wisconsinites, regardless of faith.”

The state Supreme Court election will be held on April 2. Hagedorn is facing liberal-backed judge Lisa Neubauer. Both are running to fill the seat of longtime Justice Shirley Abrahamson, who is retiring.