Mike Pompeo, Donald Trump’s nominee for Secretary of State, told the Senate today that he opposes marriage equality. During his confirmation hearing, the CIA director also refused to answer a question on homosexuality.
Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) challenged Pompeo on his anti-LGBT record, noting that in July 2015 he gave a speech in which he reiterated anti-gay pastor Rev. Joe Wright’s comment that “America had worshipped other Gods and called it multiculturalism. We’d endorsed perversion and called it an alternative lifestyle.”
“Is being gay a perversion?” Booker asked Pompeo, formerly a Republican representative from Kansas.
“Senator, when I was a politician, I had a very clear view on whether it was appropriate for two same-sex persons to marry,” Pompeo answered. “I stand by that.”
Booker then noted that there are employees at the State Department who are in same-sex marriages, and asked if Pompeo didn’t think that should be allowed. The ex-politician said there were also married gay couples at the CIA, and he treated them with “the exact same set of rights.”
“Do you believe that gay sex is a perversion?” Booker asked. “Yes or no, sir? Because that’s what you said here in one of your speeches.”
Pompeo failed to directly answer the question, instead saying his “respect for every individual, regardless of their sexual orientation, is the same.”
While in Congress, Pompeo voted against the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” opposed expanding the Violence Against Women Act to include LGBT victims, and co-sponsored legislation permiting anti-LGBT discrimination under the guise of religious liberty. And as acting CIA director, he cancelled a planned speech about diversity and LGBT rights to be given by the parents of Matthew Shepard.
HRC president Chad Griffin describes Pompeo as a “reckless choice to lead our nation’s diplomatic efforts.”
“The decision to nominate anti-LGBT Mike Pompeo could have serious consequences for the U.S. and LGBT people around the globe,” Griffin said in a statement. “The State Department has a crucial role to play in advancing human rights—a role which was already rapidly declining under Tillerson. This decision has the potential to make a dire situation even worse.”
Griffin tweeted out his thanks to Booker for “taking Mike Pompeo to task for his anti-LGBTQ record.”
.@CoryBooker is taking Mike Pompeo to task for his anti-LGBTQ record. Thank you, Senator, for holding him accountable for his deplorable attacks on LGBTQ people and others. Pompeo is unfit to serve as Secretary of State.
— Chad Griffin (@ChadHGriffin) April 12, 2018
Pompeo will need a majority vote in the Senate to replace ousted Secretary of State Rex Tillerson, who was fired on March 13, 2018.