Trump’s Pick to be America’s Top Diplomat Doesn’t Think Gay Marriage Should Be Legal

CIA Director Mike Pompeo has a long record hostile to gay rights.

CIA Director Mike Pompeo (center), his wife Susan (left) and Vice President Mike Pence.Ron Sachs/CNP via ZUMA Wire

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CIA Director Mike Pompeo said Thursday during Senate hearings on his nomination to become the next Secretary of State that he stands by his earlier opposition to same sex marriage. He declined to directly answer questions about whether he thought gay sex was a “perversion.” 

Pompeo’s remarks before the Senate’s Foreign Relations Committee came under questioning from Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.). Pompeo is an evangelical Christian who has been accused of trying to weaken CIA’s diversity efforts undertaken by former Director John Brennan. During his time as a congressman from Kansas, Pompeo spoke against allowing gay service members in the military, once telling the Values Voters Summit that “we cannot use military to promote social ideas that do not reflect the values of your nation.”

After questioning Pompeo about his past anti-Muslim statements, Booker pressed Pompeo on his record on gay rights. “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 said. Booker pressed him further, citing the nominee’s past anti-gay rhetoric:

Booker: “Do you believe that gay sex is a perversion? Yes or no.” 

Pompeo: “Senator, if I can…”

Booker: “Yes or no, do you believe gay sex is a perversion? Because it’s what you said here, in one of your speeches. Yes or no, do you believe gay sex is a perversion?”

Pompeo: “Senator, I’m going to give you the same answer I just gave you previously. My respect for every individual, regardless of sexual orientation, is the same.”

Booker told Pompeo that his views were concerning because “you’re going to be Secretary of State of the United States at a time that we have an increasing hate speech and hate actions… 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.”

Watch the exchange below:

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You expect the big picture, and it's our job at Mother Jones to give it to you. And right now, so many of the troubles we face are the making not of a virus, but of the quest for profit, political or economic (and not just from the man in the White House who could have offered leadership and comfort but instead gave us bleach).

In "News Is Just Like Waste Management," we unpack what the coronavirus crisis has meant for journalism, including Mother Jones’, and how we can rise to the challenge. If you're able to, this is a critical moment to support our nonprofit journalism with a donation: We've scoured our budget and made the cuts we can without impairing our mission, and we hope to raise $400,000 from our community of online readers to help keep our big reporting projects going because this extraordinary pandemic-plus-election year is no time to pull back.

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