In 2014 the Ugandan parliament passed the Uganda Anti-Homosexuality Act, making it legal to imprison people for life for engaging in gay sex, a truly horrific bill which was struck down by Uganda’s constitutional court soon after it was signed into law.
That extreme bill was already walked back from its original intent to make gay sex punishable by death—making it known worldwide as the “Kill the Gays Bill.” Last week, Pink News reported that politicians in Uganda are pushing for a law that would punish being LGBTQ to be reintroduced.
It is hard not to make the connection between the reintroduction of this extreme anti-LGBTQ bill and Trump’s push for Mike Pompeo to become U.S. secretary of state.
Throughout his career, Pompeo has professional ties with the Family Research Council (FRC), a Southern Poverty Law Center-designated anti-LGBTQ hate group, which openly supported Uganda’s terrifying efforts to execute and punish its LGBTQ citizens.
FRC President Tony Perkins argued that the bill, with the death penalty still attached, “uphold[s] moral conduct” and the organization actively lobbied against a congressional resolution denouncing Uganda’s “Kill the Gays Bill.”
Rather than distance himself from this designated hate group once holding a national office, Pompeo only sought to bring them closer to the fold by personally consulting with their president, Tony Perkins, into his offices for a meeting while serving as CIA director.
Mr. Pompeo’s documented personal beliefs of opposing marriage equality and the repeal of “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” are also deeply disturbing, and were reaffirmed for all the world to see in last week’s Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing.
Pompeo was pressed by several senators about his anti-LGBTQ record, and when asked by Sen. Cory Booker if he thinks it is inappropriate for gay people to get married, he fully admitted, “I continue to hold that view.”
Pompeo’s ties to the anti-LGBTQ extremism of FRC and his personal views opposing the rights of LGBTQ people sent a clear message to anti-LGBTQ politicians in Uganda who are seeking to reintroduce this horrific bill.
This is exactly why GLAAD has been calling on U.S. senators to stop him from being confirmed to serve as our chief diplomat.
America deserves to know about Mike Pompeo’s personal ties to anti-LGBTQ extremism and the message that this disturbing alliance sends to the world.
GLAAD hand-delivered letters and a research book to the offices of all 21 members of the U.S. Senate Committee on Foreign Relations outlining those connections which include FRC’s support of the dangerous and discredited practice of conversion therapy.
We are living in a world where LGBTQ people are daily facing violence, discrimination, and even death at the hands of state governments.
Just this week Uganda’s president doubled down on the nation’s anti-LGBTQ climate, warning the country’s citizens not to engage in oral sex.
At least 141 LGBTQ people were arrested in the Indonesian capital of Jakarta during a May 2017 raid that was part of a county-wide anti-LGBTQ crackdown, and there have been similar crackdowns by police in Egypt and Azerbaijan. And the list goes on.
How can Mike Pompeo be charged with taking a stand against the violence and atrocity impacting LGBTQ people around the globe, when he aligns himself with a group like FRC that is supporting and even encouraging of that violence? This contradiction goes beyond a paradox or a quandary for the U.S. Senate to mull over—it is out and out disqualifying.
We are calling on all U.S. senators to take a stand against the violence and discrimination that LGBTQ people are facing abroad and vote no on Mike Pompeo’s nomination for secretary of state. We must send a clear and unwavering message that LGBTQ rights are human rights.
Sarah Kate Ellis is the president and CEO of GLAAD, the world’s largest LGBTQ media advocacy organization. Follow her on Twitter @sarahkateellis