The U.S. Senate on Wednesday confirmed
President Donald Trump's nomination of Kansas Governor Sam Brownback
for ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom.
Vice President Mike Pence cast the
tie-breaking vote to confirm Brownback, the AP reported. Pence also
used his vote earlier in the day to break a procedural impasse.
“I'm glad to have the vice president
in my corner,” Brownback told reporters. “I'm happy. It's a
critical job. I'm excited about being able to do it.”
Trump nominated Brownback, who is
expected to resign his governorship as early as next week, for the
post in July.
LGBT groups had called on the Senate to
reject Brownback's nomination.
“For decades, Sam Brownback has
attacked the LGBTQ community and worked to undermine fairness and
equality,” David Stacy, government affairs director for the Human
Rights Campaign (HRC), said in a statement. “His extremist,
anti-LGBTQ actions should disqualify him from representing the people
of the United States.”
Stacy added that Trump and Pence are
“stacking the administration with anti-LGBTQ politicians determined
to carry out their harmful and discriminatory policies.”
During his Senate confirmation hearing,
Brownback refused to say whether foreign laws criminalizing gay sex
were always unjustified.
Democratic Senator Tim Kaine, a former
Virginia governor, asked Brownback whether laws criminalizing
same-sex relations under the guise of religious freedom are ever
“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.”
As governor, Brownback rescinded an
executive order issued by previous Governor Kathleen Sebelius, a
Democrat, that prohibited the state from employment discrimination on
the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. And he defended
in court the state's ban on same-sex marriage.
Huelskamp, Sam Brownback campaign against gay marriage in Kansas.)