Sam Brownback, the governor of Kanas known for his staunch anti-LGBTQ track record, was voted in Wednesday as an ambassador for international religious freedom.
President Donald Trump nominated Brownback for the ambassadorship in July, but the Senate’s votes on the nomination ended in deadlocks of 49-49 and put the position on hold for six months. On Wednesday, Vice President Mike Pence cast the tie-breaking vote assuring Brownback’s placement in the Trump administration post, the Kansas City Star reported.
Brownback was confirmed on a 50-49 margin, with all Democrats against him and two Republicans absent.
In his ambassador role in Washington, D.C., Brownback “will oversee the country’s advocacy for religious minorities in areas of religious conflict and oppression around the globe,” according to the Star. The position has existed since 1998 and was previously held by Rabbi David Saperstein, who was appointed by former President Barack Obama and the only non-Christian to hold the position.
Democrats were strongly opposed to the nomination of Brownback, who ranked in polls as one of the country’s most unpopular governors, in part due to his history of anti-LGBTQ policy. In 2015, Brownback removed anti-discrimination protections for LGBTQ state workers.
The Human Rights Campaign (an LGBTQ advocacy organization) and Planned Parenthood both encouraged senators to vote against Brownback, the Star reported. Planned Parenthood called Brownback and “extreme ideologue” and disputes Brownback’s claim that his policies as governor lowered the abortion rate in Kansas.
The narrow margin of Brownback’s confirmation to the ambassadorship shows just how slight the GOP’s hold on the Senate majority is—and how much room there still is in the Trump administration for anti-LGBTQ politicians.
H/T Kansas City Star