In the past, Trump’s nominee for Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo has called being gay a “perversion.”
And in a confirmation hearing, Democratic Senator Cory Booker took Pompeo to task over these views. Booker asked: “You said in a speech … warning an America that endorses a perversion and calls it an alternative lifestyle. Those are your words. Is being gay a perversion?”
Unsurprisingly, Pompeo didn’t answer the question, instead saying: “Senator, when I was a politician, I had a very clear view on whether it was appropriate for two same-sex persons to marry. I stand by that.”
However, Booker wasn’t taking that as an answer, and asked again: “Do you believe that gay sex is a perversion, yes or no? Yes or no, sir, do you believe gay sex is a perversion? It’s what you said here in one of your speeches. Yes or no, do you believe gay sex is a perversion?”
Pompeo again failed to answer the question, saying: “Senator, I’m going to give you the same answer I gave you previously. My respect for every individual regardless of sexual orientation is the same.”
Finishing his line of questioning, Booker highlighted the rise in hate speech and crimes, saying: “You’re going to be Secretary of State of the United States at a time that we have an increase in hate speech and hate actions against Jewish Americans, Muslim Americans, Indian Americans. Hate acts are on the increase in the nation.
“You’re going to be representing this country and its values abroad, in nations where gay individuals are under untold persecution [and] violence.”
“Your views do matter,” he finished.
Many LGBTQ activists fear that Pompeo’s appointment to Secretary of State will undermine the global fight for LGBTQ rights worldwide.
The President of the Human Rights Campaign, Chad Griffin, said: “Mike Pompeo’s record demonstrates a grave threat to the safety and dignity of women, LGBTQ people, and Muslims. His time in Congress was spent fighting to dismantle crucial reproductive healthcare access.
“He opposed the repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ and sought to block non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ people. He called the landmark Obergefell decision an ‘abuse of power.'”
Meanwhile, the President and CEO of GLAAD, Sarah Kate Ellis said: “During his time in the Trump administration, Mike Pompeo has personally consulted with Family Research Council, an anti-LGBTQ hate group that supported Uganda’s efforts to punish and execute LGBTQ people. This extremism should have no place in the US State Department.”
And unsurprisingly, Booker’s questioning has earned the ire of several right-wingers. Fox News pundit Todd Starnes said: “It’s becoming increasingly difficult for people of the Christian faith to practice their religion in the public marketplace. Religious liberty is under attack — as evidenced by today’s sordid congressional hearing.
“Senator Booker publicly shamed Mr Pompeo because of his deeply held religious beliefs.
“That is disgraceful and it’s bigoted and it’s downright un-American. What a shameful day in the United States Senate. What a shameful day for America.”
And Brian Brown from the National Organisation of Marriage said: “Senator Cory Booker just crossed a red line. He attacked President Trump’s pick for Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo because he is a Christian who believes the truth about marriage.