Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on
Monday announced that the agency's new human rights commission will
be chaired by a Harvard Law School professor known for her opposition
to same-sex marriage.
The newly-formed Commission on
Unalienable Rights has been criticized by LGBT rights activists who
have questioned its mission to stress “natural law and natural
Mary Ann Glendon, who was appointed
U.S. ambassador to the Vatican by former President George W. Bush,
has defended Bush's support for an amendment to the U.S. Constitution
defining marriage as a heterosexual union.
Glendon argued that marriage equality
was not a civil rights issue and would threaten so-called religious
“What same-sex marriage advocates
have tried to present as a civil rights issue is really a bid for
special preferences of the type our society gives to married couples
for the very good reason that most of them are raising or have raised
children,” she wrote in an
op-ed at the time.
“Every person and every religion that
disagrees [with same-sex marriage] will be labeled as bigoted and
openly discriminated against,” she added.
In announcing Glendon as chair, Pompeo
described her as “the perfect person to chair this effort.”
In an op-ed on the commission published
by the Wall
Street Journal on Sunday, Pompeo wrote that “rights claims
are often aimed more at rewarding interest groups and dividing
humanity into subgroups.”
Speaking with the
Blade, Council for Global Equality Chair Mark Bromley said
that he “fears that this is part of a broader effort to push back
against human rights for LGBTI individuals by creating a new
hierarchy of rights – with religious freedom at the pinnacle and
rights for LGBTI citizens in the 'alienable' category.'”
Neither Pompeo nor Glendon answered
reporters' questions on Monday.