Anti-LGBT activists launch ‘smear campaign’ against Democratic Senator Cory Booker

Anti-LGBT activists have launched a campaign targeting US Senator Cory Booker, after he challenged a Trump nominee over homophobic comments.

Earlier this month, Democratic Senator Cory Booker challenged former GOP Congressman Mike Pompeo over his anti-LGBT views following his nomination to the State Department, where he would control any future work on global LGBT rights.

Citing Pompeo’s past record during a Senate committee, Booker asked: “You made a speech warning [against]  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 Booker’s question referred to his beliefs about gay people’s rights and not specifically same-sex marriage.

Following the spat, anti-LGBT activists have now launched a fully-fledged smear campaign against Booker, who was branded an “anti-Christian bigot” in the aftermath of the spat.

Fringe anti-gay group the National Organisation for Marriage is behind a Booker Bans Believers campaign – with a newly-launched website suggesting that the Democrat wants to ban the Bible.

The group claims: “Booker’s attack on Pompeo because he is a Christian who believes what nearly all Christians have always believed about marriage is beyond outrageous.

“Booker’s thinking would lead to a ban from public office of Christians, Jews and members of other religious faiths who believe in the simple truth that marriage is ordained by God as the union of one man and one woman.”

The campaign urges supporters to contact Senator Rand Paul, a Republican swing vote on the nomination of Pompeo.

It says: “A vote for confirmation from Senator Paul would signal his opposition to Senator Booker’s disgraceful attack on religious liberty and conscience rights. Please call Senator Paul’s office today and urge him to vote to confirm Mr. Pompeo.

“Tell him that this will show that belief in marriage as the union of one man and one woman-a belief held by countless Christians and other people of faith in America-does not and must not disqualify a person from participation in public life!

“Let him know that standing for the truth of marriage is a higher calling than expressing a disagreement on routine foreign policy matters!”

Mat Staver of anti-LGBT law firm Liberty Counsel also launched a smear against Booker.

Staver  said: “It is the height of hypocrisy that Sen. Booker quotes a group connected to two attempted mass murders that hold the same view of marriage as Mike Pompeo, while trying to discredit a man who treats everyone with respect.

“Sen. Booker should apologise or resign from the Senate. He has brought disgrace on himself and the office. Mike Pompeo is a good man and should be confirmed.

“With all the issues the Secretary of State will face, Booker made a fool of himself and brought shame to the Senate by berating Mr Pompeo for his Christian beliefs. This is unacceptable.”

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

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.”

Booker himself is a Christian.

The lawmaker is commonly talked of as a 2020 or 2024 presidential challenger.

A long-time LGBT rights supporter, Booker has repeatedly taken Trump nominees to task in the Senate over their records on LGBT rights.

In 2013, he explained that he “loves” the fact that people aren’t sure about his sexuality.

He told the Washington Post: “People who think I’m gay, some part of me thinks it’s wonderful. Because I want to challenge people on their homophobia.

“I love seeing on Twitter when someone says I’m gay, and I say, ‘So what does it matter if I am? So be it. I hope you are not voting for me because you are making the presumption that I’m straight.'”

Booker conducted New Jersey’s first same-sex marriage ceremonies while Mayor of Newark.

He told the couples: “Tonight we have crossed a barrier. While you all have fallen into love, the truth is the state of New Jersey has risen to love.”