On Thursday, the U.S. Senate confirmed Mike Pompeo, the former CIA director and a former congressman from Kansas, as U.S. Secretary of State.
The entire Republican Senate caucus was joined by six Democrats and Independent Angus King of Maine in voting to confirm Pompeo, despite efforts by some of the more liberal members of the Senate to expose Pompeo’s history of opposition to LGBTQ rights. In one notable exchange, Pompeo was harshly grilled by Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) over whether he thought being gay was a “perversion” during his confirmation hearing.
Yet despite efforts to highlight Pompeo’s record of opposing LGBTQ rights and link him to the Family Research Council, which actively pushes for anti-LGBTQ legislation in the United States and abroad, LGBTQ groups failed to stop Pompeo’s nomination from moving forward. FRC previously endorsed Pompeo’s congressional re-election bid in 2014.
Following the confirmation vote, both GLAAD and the Human Rights Campaign blasted the senators who had helped enable Pompeo, who they contend may be unwilling to speak out against anti-LGBTQ human rights abuses abroad, including in Chechnya, Indonesia, Turkey, Egypt, and Azerbaijan.
“Senators who cast their vote to confirm Mike Pompeo showed complete disregard for the global LGBTQ community by ignoring his ties to anti-LGBTQ hate and extremism, including his work promoting groups like the Family Research Council which supported Uganda’s efforts to execute LGBTQ people,” Sarah Kate Ellis, the president and CEO of GLAAD, said in a statement.
“President Trump and his anti-LGBTQ cabinet continuously underestimate the resilience of the LGBTQ community who will stand strong in our fight for safety, equality, and acceptance at home and abroad — with or without the support of the U.S. State Department.”
“Mike Pompeo’s long-standing opposition to LGBTQ equality and lack of diplomatic experience makes him a poor choice to lead our nation’s diplomatic efforts,” HRC President Chad Griffin said in a statement. “The State Department has a crucial role to play in advancing human rights — a role which was already significantly eroding under Rex Tillerson. Now that [Pompeo] has been confirmed by the U.S. Senate, LGBTQ people around the world will need him to stand up for LGBTQ human rights.”
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