Democrat Cory Booker branded ‘anti-Christian bigot’ for asking Trump nominee about his homophobic views

Democrat Senator Cory Booker is under fire from Republicans after scrutinising President Donald Trump’s Secretary of State nominee Mike Pompeo about his views on homosexuality.

During a session in the Senate on Thursday, Booker challenged former GOP Congressman Mike Pompeo over his anti-LGBT beliefs following his nomination to the State Department, where he would control any future work on global LGBT rights.

Citing Pompeo’s past record, Senator Booker asked: “You made a speech warning an America that endorses a perversion and calls it an alternative lifestyle. Those are your words. Is being gay a perversion?”

Pompeo would only specify that he “stands by” his “very clear view on whether it was appropriate for two same-sex persons to marry,” though Senator Booker’s question did not refer to same-sex marriage.

But right-wingers are now hitting out at Senator Booker over his line of questioning.

Prominent Fox News pundit Todd Starnes branded him an “anti-Christian bigot” for questioning why Pompeo had referred to gay people as perverts.

Sen. Cory Booker (D-NJ) (Photo by Aaron P. Bernstein/Getty Images)

Starnes said: “It’s becoming increasingly difficult for people of the Christian faith to practice their religion in the public marketplace. Religious liberty is under attack — as evidenced by today’s sordid congressional hearing.

“Senator Booker publicly shamed Mr Pompeo because of his deeply held religious beliefs.

“That is disgraceful and it’s bigoted and it’s downright un-American. What a shameful day in the United States Senate. What a shameful day for America.”

Brian Brown of the National Organisation for Marriage piled on: “Senator Corey Booker just crossed a red line. He attacked President Trump’s pick for Secretary of State, Mike Pompeo because he is a Christian who believes the truth about marriage.

(Photo by Joe Raedle/Getty Images)

“We have been warning that this would occur for some time. Our constitution specifically forbids religious tests for office, but evidently Senator Booker did not get the memo.”

He claimed that “Booker’s attack on Pompeo is a direct threat to our Republic,” adding: “The consequence of Booker’s position would be to disqualify from public office all Christians, Jews and members of other faiths that understand the truth that marriage is the union of a man and a woman”.

A mass mailer petition circulated by NOM adds: “I cannot believe that you just attacked CIA Director Mike Pompeo because he is Christian who believes what almost all Christians have believed throughout history—that marriage is the union of one man and one woman. This is a core attack on our First Amendment and has no place in the Senate.”

LGBT rights groups have warned that the nomination of Pompeo threatens to undermine progress for the community in the US and could have potential implications for LGBT equality worldwide.

Secretary of State nominee Mike Pompeo (Photo by Mark Wilson/Getty Images)

Sarah Kate Ellis, President and CEO of GLAAD, said: “Mike Pompeo’s reaffirmed opposition to marriage equality and LGBTQ rights further proves that he is dangerously wrong to serve as our Nation’s chief diplomat.

“His personal ties to anti-LGBTQ hate groups and clear refusal to support the hard-fought equal rights of the LGBTQ community make him wholly unqualified to promote human rights abroad.”

The Human Rights Campaign, Global Forum on MSM & HIV, National LGBTQ Task Force and National Center for Transgender Equality all signed a joint letter from rights groups expressing “serious doubts about his ability to represent all in America and promote human rights for all individuals abroad.”

HRC President Chad Griffin said: “Mike Pompeo’s record demonstrates a grave threat to the safety and dignity of women, LGBTQ people, and Muslims. His time in Congress was spent fighting to dismantle crucial reproductive healthcare access.

“He opposed the repeal of ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ and sought to block non-discrimination protections for LGBTQ people. He called the landmark Obergefell decision an ‘abuse of power.’

“He has a history of disturbing Islamophobic comments. We urge the Senate to oppose Pompeo and reject this effort by Donald Trump and Mike Pence to appoint an extremist as our nation’s chief diplomat.”

Pompeo has a long history of outspoken anti-LGBT sentiment

As a GOP lawmaker Pompeo was co-sponsor of the State Marriage Defense Act, a proposed law that would have allowed states to continue to refuse recognition of same-sex unions.

He also co-sponsored the Marriage and Religious Freedom Act, which would have issued a ‘license to discriminate’ against LGBT people based on religion.

Defending Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, which banned openly gay soldiers in the military, he claimed that “when you enter the army you give up a few of your rights,” before claiming: “We cannot use military to promote social ideas that do not reflect the values of our nation.”

When the US Supreme Court found that gay couples had a constitutional right to get married, Pompeo said he was “deeply saddened” by the ruling, branding it a “shocking abuse of power.”