Sending Office: Honorable David N. Cicilline
Sent By:
Sarah.Trister@mail.house.gov

Supported by the Human Rights Campaign and American Jewish World Service

Current signers: Barbara Lee, Norton, Higgins, Watson Coleman, Espaillat, Lowenthal, Pallone, Wasserman Schultz

Dear Colleague:

Please join me in sending a letter to the Senate Foreign Relations Committee opposing the confirmation of Mike Pompeo as Secretary of State due to his history of supporting discrimination against the LGBTI community.

Mr. Pompeo’s track record of opposing equal rights for the LGBTI community, as well as his well-documented support for the use of torture, a tactic often used against LGBTI and other vulnerable communities, make him unqualified for the position of Secretary
of State.

American foreign policy is rooted in our protection of universal values and support for human rights. The Secretary of State must convey American morals and positions world-wide, as well as to the courageous men and women of the State Department who have
dedicated their lives to the service of our country.

Mr. Pompeo’s views do not represent American values and would act as an unfortunate signal to those leaders around the world who would engage in discrimination against LGBTI people. The confirmation of Mike Pompeo to the position of Secretary of State is
contrary to American values.

Please join me in opposing the confirmation of Mr. Pompeo to the position of Secretary of State. To sign on, please contact Sarah Trister in my office at
Sarah.Trister@mail.house.gov. Deadline to sign on is COB Tuesday, April 10th.

Sincerely,

David N. Cicilline

 

Letter Text

 

Dear Chairman Corker and Ranking Member Menendez:

We write to convey our opposition to the nomination of Mike Pompeo to be Secretary of State.  One of the primary responsibilities of the Secretary of State is to embrace and promote American values as the foremost diplomat and representative of the United
States abroad. Our allies and adversaries alike look to the Secretary of State as the guidepost for American priorities and principles in our foreign policy. We believe that Mr. Pompeo’s track record of opposing equal rights for the lesbian, gay, bisexual,
transgender, and intersex (LGBTI) community, and his support for the use of torture, which is a tactic often used against LGBTI and other vulnerable communities, should disqualify him from consideration for the position of Secretary of State.

The Secretary of State must convey values and positions that send a message not only to those observing from abroad, but also to the courageous men and women of the State Department, who have dedicated their lives to the service of our country. Mr. Pompeo’s
long track record of opposition to equality for LGBTI Americans does not represent American values and would act as an unfortunate signal to those leaders around the world who wish to engage in discrimination against LGBTI people.

As a Member of Congress Pompeo was a vocal opponent of repealing the military’s “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy that forced American service members to hide their sexuality, saying “we cannot use military to promote social ideas that do not reflect the values
of our nation.”  He went so far as to send a letter in 2011 asking Senate Leadership to include language in a spending bill that would force the Department of Defense to discriminate against LGBTI service members who wanted to hold private events on military
properties.

Even after the Supreme Court struck down the Defense of Marriage Act as unconstitutional in 2014, Mr. Pompeo joined on multiple pieces of legislation intended to circumvent the Supreme Court’s ruling and give states the right to continue to discriminate
against the LGBTI community. The fact that Mr. Pompeo chose to continue to oppose Americans’ constitutional rights to equality despite the unequivocal ruling of the judiciary is extremely concerning and raises the question of whether Mr. Pompeo, as Secretary
of State, could be trusted to execute the laws of this country, which require him to treat all State Department employees equally, regardless of their sexual orientation or gender identity. Additionally, many Americans of all orientations, religions, backgrounds,
and ethnicities work abroad on behalf of the United States, sometimes in hazardous conditions, and they need to know they have support of State Department leadership.

Moreover, in recent years there has been a widespread and concerted effort by foreign leaders to engage in or encourage violence, discrimination, and marginalization against LGBTI or suspected LGBTI people. Over just the past year we have seen government-led
crackdowns and violence against LGBTI communities in Russia, Egypt, Indonesia, Azerbaijan and others. The United States has a long bipartisan tradition of promoting the human and civil rights of all people. Mr. Pompeo’s opposition to fundamental human rights
and equality for LGBTI individuals sends the wrong message at home and abroad and leaves the door open to foreign leaders who would seek to persecute their LGBTI citizens.

We are also extremely concerned by Mr. Pompeo’s record on torture and the use of “enhanced interrogation techniques” by the United States. Mr. Pompeo has previously defended the use of “waterboarding,” saying that it does not constitute torture. And though
Mr. Pompeo committed in his CIA confirmation hearing that he would not follow any orders to break current law, he has since said—in public comments responding to a question lamenting that “black sites” are no longer available for interrogating detainees—that
if presented with a situation where current law didn’t “deliver,” he would support efforts to rewrite laws to get what “America needs.”

These positions were troubling when Mr. Pompeo was seeking the role of CIA Director, but are equally concerning as Mr. Pompeo seeks the position of Secretary of State.  Vulnerable populations including the LGBTI community are at greater risk of being subject
to torture and other illegal detention methods, whether by government, police, or non-government entities. As the country’s top diplomat, Mr. Pompeo would be expected to represent the United States’ positions with leaders of foreign governments, many of whom
engage in torture.  It is difficult to imagine that he would credibly be able to criticize or condemn foreign governments for engaging in torture, in light of his own record on the subject. The elevation of Mr. Pompeo to the role of Secretary of State would
clearly put these vulnerable communities at greater risk.

American foreign policy has been rooted in the belief of universal values and support for human rights for decades. We believe that the confirmation of Mike Pompeo to the position of Secretary of State is contrary to the American values of respect for the
rule of law and human rights, especially respect for the safety of the individual and the fundamental right to security in one’s person. The Secretary of State must be a champion of American values and Mr. Pompeo clearly does not represent the views of the
nation. We respectfully urge you to oppose the confirmation of Mr. Pompeo to the position of Secretary of State.

Sincerely,                                                                            

Members of Congress

CC:

The Honorable Mitch McConnell, Senate Majority Leader

The Honorable Chuck Schumer, Senate Minority Leader

Members of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee

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Selected legislative information: Foreign Affairs, Government

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