A divided U.S. Foreign Relations Committee favorably forwarded Gov. Sam Brownback’s nomination for ambassador for religious liberty to the full Senate.
Through Twitter, the Kansas Governor thanked the committee for their approval. The divided 11-10 vote was along party lines with Republicans supporting Brownback’s nomination to the State Department post.
The Human Rights Campaign, a lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer civil rights organization, sent letters to committee members opposing Brownback’s nomination. Brownback is Catholic.
An HRC lobbyist, David Stacy, said in a press release that the organization worries Brownback would promote the “harmful idea that individuals holding certain religious views should somehow be permitted to discriminate against LGBTQ people.”
Brownback was questioned at length on LGBTQ issues during a committee hearing on Oct. 4.
Overland Park-native and Virginia Democratic Sen. Tim Kaine asked whether Brownback would find imprisoning or executing someone due to their LGBT acceptable if their motive was religious in nature.
“I don’t know what that would be, in what circumstance. I would continue the policies that have been done in the prior administration in working on these international issues,” Brownback told the committee.
The Kansas Governor said he will be committed to staying in his own lane as religious liberty ambassador.
“If you start to veer out of that lane, you get pulled to other topics that other people are charged with doing, you’re going to lose the bipartisan support for the position, which is critical to have,” he said.
Sen. Pat Roberts, R-Kansas, offered his support for Brownback’s nomination.
“I urge my colleagues not to delay his confirmation by the full Senate so he may get to work fighting religious persecution around the world,” Roberts said in a statement.
Brownback has said he will not resign his post as Kansas Governor until the Senate confirms his nomination to the state department post. Lt. Gov. Jeff Colyer has been staffing up his office in preparation of taking the job executive job in Kansas. There is no timeline for when the Senate will consider Brownback’s nomination.