President Donald Trump has nominated former far-right radio host Sam Clovis—who has argued that protecting LGBTQ people could lead to the legalization of pedaphilia—to serve as chief scientist for the Department of Agriculture.
Clovis, who has no background in science but has been a vocal supporter of Trump, has a history of anti-LGBTQ rhetoric. Between 2012 and 2014, he argued that gay Americans choose to be gay. Stating that he doesn’t “know what the science is on this,” Clovis has suggested that the 14th Amendment should not protect LGBTQ Americans because if LGBTQ people are protected, then there will be “consequences” for the rest of the nation.
“Follow the logic, if you engage in a particular behavior, what also becomes protected?” Clovis said in a video obtained by CNN. “If we protect LGBT behavior, what other behaviors are we going to protect? Are we going to protect pedophilia? Are we going to protect polyamorous marriage relationships? Are we going to protect people who have fetishes?”
Clovis, whose educational background is in politics and business, also believes that businesses should be allowed to discriminate against LGBTQ employees under religious freedom. He says religious freedom must give businesses the ability to “make decisions about who is employed,” especially if employees don’t behave “in accordance with some deeply held religious belief system.”
“Just as the government should not force business owners or enterprises to provide contraceptives or morning-after pills because of religious beliefs, the government should not be in charge of hiring practices, either,” Clovis said. “Religious freedom, perhaps the most fundamental of all protected freedoms, must be free of government interference.”
Senate Democrats are opposing Clovis’ nomination, arguing he lacks the scientific experience for the job. Clovis is also an active climate denier, according to Forbes.