Mike Pompeo on Thursday during his confirmation hearing to become the next secretary of state faced questions about his previous anti-LGBT statements.Pompeo reaffirmed his opposition to marriage rights for same-sex couples when U.S. Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) asked about a 2015 speech in which he cited a prayer from an anti-gay preacher that described homosexuality as a “perversion” and an “alternative lifestyle.” Pompeo also did not directly answer Booker’s question about whether he thinks “being gay is a perversion.”
“My respect for every individual, regardless of their sexual orientation, is the same,” Pompeo told Booker and other members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
President Trump last month nominated Pompeo — who is the current CIA director — to succeed then-Secretary of State Rex Tillerson after he fired him. Pompeo represented Kansas’ 4th Congressional District from 2011-2017.
The Human Rights Campaign and Lambda Legal are among the dozens of LGBT and civil rights organizations that have come out against Pompeo’s nomination because of his previous statements against homosexuality, marriage rights for same-sex couples, Muslims and other issues.
“We had a terrible fellow in Kansas named Fred Phelps,” Pompeo told Booker in response to a question about his previous statements against Muslims. “I called him out.”
Pompeo told Booker that he treated married gay couples at the CIA “with the exact same set of rights.” Pompeo also said to U.S. Sen. Jeanne Shaheen that he has “honored and valued every CIA officer, regardless” of their sexual orientation, race, religion, etc.
“I treat each and everyone of our officers with respect,” Pompeo told Shaheen. “I promise I will do that as secretary of state.”