The Senate Foreign Relations Committee
on Monday endorsed the nomination of Mike Pompeo to become the next
secretary of state.
Members advanced Pompeo's nomination
with an 11-9 vote.
Just before the vote, Kentucky Senator
Rand Paul, a Republican previously opposed to the nominee, announced
that he would support Pompeo as America's top diplomat.
President Trump last month nominated
Pompeo to serve as secretary of state, succeeding Rex Tillerson, whom
Previous to serving as director of the
Central Intelligence Agency (CIA), Pompeo served six years in the
U.S. House as a Republican from Kansas. During this time, Pompeo
co-sponsored bills that would allow states not to recognize marriage
equality and allow organizations and businesses to discriminate
against LGBT people. He also opposed repeal of Don't Ask, Don't
Tell, the military policy which prohibited gay troops from serving
During his Senate confirmation hearing,
Pompeo refused to answer whether he believes being gay is a
Senator Cory Booker, a Democrat from
New Jersey, asked Pompeo about his previous comments on LGBT rights,
particularly one statement in which he suggested that being gay is a
“Is being gay a perversion?” Booker
“Senator, 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 replied, referring to
his opposition to same-sex marriage.
“So, you do not believe that it's
appropriate for two gay people to marry?”
“Senator, I continue to hold that
view,” Pompeo answered.
Booker pushed Pompeo for a “yes” or
“no” answer to his question, but Pompeo refused, saying only that
he respects all individuals regardless of sexual orientation.
The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), the
nation's largest LGBT rights advocate, called Monday's vote
“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,” said
HRC President Chad Griffin. “Senate confirmation of anti-LGBTQ Mike
Pompeo could have serious consequences for the United States and
LGBTQ people around the globe. The State Department has a crucial
role to play in advancing human rights — a role which was already
significantly eroding under Rex Tillerson. This decision has the
potential to make a dire situation even worse. The Senate should
reject Pompeo’s nomination."