During Sam Brownback's Senate confirmation hearing on Wednesday, the former Kansas governor, in line to be ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom, refused to say whether foreign laws criminalizing gay sex were always unjustified.

President Donald Trump nominated Brownback to the post in July.

Democratic Senator Tim Kaine, a former Virginia governor, asked Brownback whether laws criminalizing same-sex relations under the guise of religious freedom are ever justified.

“I don't know what that would be, in what circumstance,” Brownback answered. “But I would continue the policies that had been done in the prior administration in work on these international issues.”

“I really would expect an unequivocal answer on that,” Kaine replied. “But my time is up.”

(Related: U.S. votes against U.N. resolution condemning death penalty for same-sex relations.)

Brownback also defended his decision as governor to rescind an executive order issued by then-Governor Kathleen Sebelius, a Democrat, that prohibited employment discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity. The order only applied to state workers.

“I just don't think it's a right that the executive branch should create without the legislative branch,” Brownback answered. During another round of questioning, Brownback suggested the order created special rights: “That was an order that created a right by the executive branch that wasn't available to other people and it wasn't passed by the legislative branch,” he said.

Brownback is also a vocal opponent of marriage rights for same-sex couples.