“I continue to hold that view,” Pompeo said Thursday during his confirmation hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.
But Pompeo, a former three-term congressman from Kansas, maintained that his views on gay marriage do not obstruct him from being able to treat all people with respect.
“I believe it’s the case we have married gay couples at the CIA. You should know I treated them with the exact same set of rights,” he said, adding later: “My respect for every individual, regardless of the sexual orientation, is the same.”
Pompeo’s comments came during an exchange with Sen. Cory Booker (D-N.J.), who grilled the CIA director about comments in which the former congressman once suggested that gay sex was a “perversion.” Pompeo declined to answer the question head-on and reiterated that he’d treat everyone equally.
Booker also questioned Pompeo about his ties to prominent anti-Muslim figure Frank Gaffney, whose radio show he appeared on multiple times, and Pompeo’s view that Muslims in America who do not speak out against terror are complicit in extremism.
“Each and every human, not just Americans, each and every human being has an obligation to push back against this extremist use of violence, from whatever faith,” Pompeo responded.
But Pompeo’s comments didn’t seem to assuage Booker.
“You’re going to be representing this country and their values abroad in nations where gay individuals are under untold persecution, untold violence. Your views do matter,” the senator said.
“You’re going to be dealing with Muslim states, and with Muslim issues, and I do not necessarily concur that you are [advancing] the values of our nation when you believe there are people in our country that are perverse, and when you think that you create different categories of Americans and their obligations when it comes to condemning violence,” Booker added.