GLAAD, the world’s largest LGBTQ media advocacy organization, is panning President Trump’s selection of Mick Mulvaney, the former South Carolina congressman and Director of the Office of Management and Budget, to replace Adm. John F. Kelly as White House Chief of Staff.
Mulvaney, who in 2016 called Trump a “terrible human being” whose actions prior to running for the presidency would disqualify him for office, has since become a loyal foot-soldier for the president and one of the cabinet-level members of the administration who is least likely to upbraid the president. But despite his political conversion on Trump’s qualifications, Mulvaney has remained consistent in his disdain for LGBTQ rights.
First elected to office in 2006, Mulvaney made a name for himself as a one-term state representative who co-sponsored a bill to permanently ban same-sex marriage in South Carolina. In 2008, he ran for a vacant Senate seat and won, defeating Democrat Mandy Powers Norrell in one of the cycle’s closest legislative races.
During his 2008 campaign, voters received robocalls, purporting to be from a made-up group called the Alliance for the Advancement of Gays and Lesbians, that praised Norrell for her support of “homosexual unions and abortion rights.” When Norrell’s supporters objected to the calls’ claims and sought to link the group behind the calls to Mulvaney’s campaign, he denied any connection.
But Mulvaney also managed to get in a dig at Norrell, telling the Associated Press: “I believe that the statements regarding Ms. Powers Norrell’s positions are accurate. I absolutely condemn the method in which this message was conveyed.” It was only the next day, after continued blowback, that Mulvaney further distanced himself, calling the robocalls a “reprehensible tactic.”
In 2010, Mulvaney ran for a seat in Congress and won, defeating 14-term incumbent Democratic U.S. Rep. John Spratt. During his campaign, he espoused support for a Federal Marriage Amendment to ban same-sex marriage. After his election, he quickly signed onto a letter demanding that the Obama Administration enforce the Defense of Marriage Act, specifically Section 3, which prohibited the federal government from recognizing same-sex marriages in states where it was legal.
In 2015, following the Supreme Court’s decision in Obergefell v. Hodges legalizing marriage equality nationwide, Mulvaney co-sponsored the First Amendment Defense Act, which would allow people to claim religious exemptions from having to provide goods or services to LGBTQ people or recognize same-sex marriages as valid. The next year, he objected to the Obama administration’s guidance for public schools on how to treat transgender pupils according to their gender identity.
Earlier this year, Mulvaney said he was “stunned” that the Obama administration had previously threatened to deny African countries federal aid if they had laws in place criminalizing homosexuality, arguing that such a denial of aid was tantamount to “religious persecution.”