Yet another Trump administration official’s anti-LGBTQ views are under the glare of the spotlight after Donald Trump selected Sam Clovis to be the next chief scientist for the U.S. Department of Agriculture.
Clovis has previously argued that homosexuality is a choice and that the sanctioning of same-sex marriage could lead to the eventual legalization of pedophilia, reports CNN. Clovis made those comments between 2012 and 2014 in his capacity as a radio host, political activist, and candidate for the U.S. Senate in Iowa.
Senate Democrats have been extremely critical of Clovis’ nomination, saying that his lack of scientific background makes him unqualified for the position of chief scientist at USDA.
Clovis has repeatedly argued that the science surrounding homosexuality is unsettled and that it is a choice, despite the American Psychological Association finding that “most people experience little or no sense of choice about their sexual orientation.”
In response to a question about Clovis’ beliefs surrounding the science of homosexuality, a USDA spokeswoman told CNN: “The Supreme Court settled the issue in 2015.”
The bulk of Clovis’ comments have centered around his belief that LGBTQ people are not entitled to protection under the Fourteenth Amendment to the Constitution. Clovis has argued that if LGBTQ people are able to get protections, pastors won’t be allowed to preach against homosexuality, and those people who do speak negatively about it will be prosecuted for “hate speech.”
Writing in an op-ed for the local conservative blog Iowa Republican in April 2011, Clovis argued that the science of being LGBTQ was unsettled, and, that if being gay was genetic, then people who are genetically-disposed to be members of minorities, such as left-handed or blue-eyed people, for instance, should receive protections under the Constitution as well.
While campaigning for U.S. Senate, Clovis opined that protecting LGBTQ people from discrimination — based on their “behavior,” as he sees no genetic link — would lead to protections for other sexual behaviors, like pedophilia or polyamory.
“Follow the logic, if you engage in a particular behavior, what also becomes protected?” Clovis said. “If we protect LGBT behavior, what other behaviors are we going to protect? Are we going to protect pedophilia? Are we going to protect polyamorous marriage relationships? Are we going to protect people who have fetishes? What’s the logical extension of this? It can’t be that we’re going to protect LGBT and then we’ll pull up the ladder. That’s not going to happen, it defies logic. We’re not thinking the consequences of these decisions through.”
Clovis has also previously argued in favor of “religious freedom” measures that would allow businesses to discriminate in hiring against LGBTQ people if they have personal religious or moral objections to homosexuality or transgenderism.
“Just as the government should not force business owners or enterprises to provide contraceptives or morning-after pills because of religious beliefs, the government should not be in charge of hiring practices, either,” Clovis wrote. “Religious freedom, perhaps the most fundamental of all protected freedoms, must be free of government interference.”