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Pompeo on Pride Month: LGBT Rights, 'Fundamental Freedoms' Must be Protected

Secretary of State Mike Pompeo addresses State Department employees in Washington on May 1, 2018. (State Department photo)

WASHINGTON — Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, who was grilled over his opposition to same-sex marriage and other LGBT policy positions during his April confirmation hearing, was out of the gate at the beginning of Pride Month today with a statement vowing to protect the “fundamental freedoms” of gay individuals around the world.

At his Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing, Pompeo wouldn’t answer a question from Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.) about whether “being gay is a perversion.”

“My respect for every individual, regardless of their sexual orientation, is the same,” Pompeo said then, adding that in his leadership time at the CIA he treated married gay couples “with the exact same set of rights” and treated “each and every one of our officers with respect.”

Today, in a statement issued by the State Department, Pompeo said that the United States “joins people around the world in celebrating Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transgender, and Intersex (LGBTI) Pride Month, and reaffirms its commitment to protecting and defending the human rights of all, including LGBTI persons.”

“In many parts of the world, LGBTI individuals and their supporters continue to face violence, arrest, harassment and intimidation for standing up for their human rights, participating in peaceful marches and rallies, expressing their views, and simply being who they are,” Pompeo added. “LGBTI persons – like all persons – must be free to enjoy their human rights and fundamental freedoms, including freedom of expression, peaceful assembly, and association, without fear of reprisal. As Americans, we place a high value on these rights and freedoms, which all persons deserve to enjoy fully and equally.”

“The United States stands firmly with you as you exercise your human rights and fundamental freedoms,” he added. “We wish you a safe and happy Pride Month.”

Last year, Secretary of State Rex Tillerson issued a different statement for Pride Month, though the White House did not mark the month. At the end of June 2015, the year that the Supreme Court ruled in favor of same-sex marriage, President Obama lit up the White House exterior in rainbow colors in recognition of the LGBT community.