During his secretary of state confirmation hearing on Thursday, CIA Director Mike Pompeo defended his belief in traditional marriage while being pressed on the issue by New Jersey Democrat Senator Cory Booker.
Booker quoted a speech Pompeo gave when he was a congressman in Kansas: “You’ve said in a speech … ‘mourning an America that endorses perversion and calls it an alternative lifestyle.’ Those are your words. Is being gay a perversion?”
“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,” Pompeo responded.
“So you do not believe it’s appropriate for two gay people to marry?” Booker pressed.
“Senator, I continue to hold that view — it’s the same view, for the record that …” Pompeo began before Booker cut him off.
“And so people in the State Department, I met some, in Africa, that are married under your leadership — you do not think that should be allowed,” Booker continued.
“We have married gay couples at the CIA, you should know, I treated them with the exact same set of rights, the exact same…” Pompeo said before being interrupted again.
“Do you believe gay sex is a perversion?” Booker then asked repeatedly.
Despite Pompeo’s assurance that he has respect for everyone, regardless of their sexual orientation, Booker suggested that Pompeo’s view on homosexuality makes him unsuitable for the office.
“You’re going to be representing this country and their values abroad in nations where gay individuals are under untold persecution, untold violence. Your views do matter,” he said.
“I do not necessarily concur that you are putting forth the values of our nation when you can’t even, when you believe that there are people in our country that are perverse and where you think that you create different categories of Americans and their obligations when it comes to condemning violence,” Booker concluded.
“To verify your tolerance, I now ask that you publicly watch ‘Brokeback Mountain’ without making a face and that you cry at the end, sir!” https://t.co/doTzg48QmR
— Ben Shapiro (@benshapiro) April 12, 2018
This is not the first time that Trump nominees have been challenged over their traditional Christian beliefs.
In June last year, Vermont Senator Bernie Sanders grilled Russell Vought, Trump’s then nominee for Deputy Director of the White House Office of Management and Budget, over his Christian belief that only those who trust in Jesus Christ are saved from God’s wrath.
Sanders argued Vought’s beliefs are “Isalmaphobic” and not what “this country is supposed to be about.”
In September the same year, California Senator Dianne Feinstein and Illinois Senator Dick Durbin suggested that the Catholic faith of appeals-court nominee Amy Coney Barrett disqualified her from serving as a judge.
“When you read your speeches, the conclusion one draws is that the dogma lives loudly within you,” Feinstein said. “And that’s of concern when you come to big issues that large numbers of people have fought for for years in this country.”
Both Vought and Barrett were eventually confirmed.
If confirmed, Pompeo will replace Rex Tillerson as secretary of state.
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