Metro Weekly

LGBTQ advocates urge Senate to reject Mike Pompeo as Secretary of State

CIA director and former congressman boasts an anti-LGBTQ voting record

Mike Pompeo — Photo: Gage Skidmore

A coalition of 55 civil and human rights groups has written to U.S. senators to ask them to oppose the confirmation of CIA Director and former Kansas Congressman Mike Pompeo as the nation’s next Secretary of State.

Members of the coalition include 18MillionRising.org, the American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, Americans Unit for Separation of Church and State, the Human Rights Campaign, Human Rights Watch, the NAACP, the National Center for Transgender Equality, the National LGBTQ Tak Force Action Fund, and the Southern Poverty Law Center.

“Mr. Pompeo has a troubling history of statements and policy positions that have alienated marginalized communities, which raises serious doubts about his ability to represent all in America and promote human rights for all individuals abroad,” the coalition wrote in its letter to senators.

The coalition pointed out that Pompeo, during his first congressional campaign in 2010, ran a xenophobic- and Islamophobic-tinged campaign against his opponent, who was a natural-born American citizen of Indian descent.

Pompeo is also being criticized for his record on LGBTQ issues. Following the repeal of the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy, Pompeo continued to advocate for excluding gay, lesbian, and bisexual people from serving. He called the 2015 Supreme Court decision legalizing marriage equality a “shocking abuse of power.” He has also opposed workplace and domestic violence protections for the LGBTQ community, and backed legislation to allow discrimination against LGBTQ people under the guise of “religious freedom.”

The coalition also questioned Pompeo’s commitment to speaking out against human rights abuses abroad, and whether his hostility towards Islam would hinder his ability to work with Muslim-majority countries in forming alliances.

“The Secretary of State is one of our most important positions for promoting and protecting human rights,” the letter reads. “This cabinet level position has a unique and important role requiring the ability to build international coalitions and serve as our representative in international negotiations. … In light of Mr. Pompeo’s divisive and extreme record, we urge you to oppose his confirmation.”

“Mike Pompeo’s record demonstrates a grave threat to the safety and dignity of women, LGBTQ people, and Muslims,” HRC President Chad Griffin said in an additional statement. “We urge the Senate to oppose Pompeo and reject this effort by Donald Trump and Mike Pence to appoint an extremist as our nation’s chief diplomat.”

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John Riley is the local news reporter for Metro Weekly. He can be reached at jriley@metroweekly.com

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