Utah Sen. Mike Lee continues to block the Senate’s confirmation of an LGBT activist to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
Lee, a Republican, is blocking confirmation of Chai Feldblum, President Donald Trump’s nominee to the EEOC. Feldblum – a left-wing Democrat – is known as the architect of former President Barack Obama’s LGBT agenda.
Feldblum has a history of making controversial statements about religious liberty when it comes in conflict with the “rights” of LGBT activists.
In a 2006 Weekly Standard report, Maggie Gallagher noted that, after news broke that Catholic Charities in Boston would be required to place adoptive children with same-sex couples to keep its license, Feldblum’s response did not suggest a respect for religious freedom.
“When push comes to shove, when religious liberty and sexual liberty conflict, she admits, ‘I’m having a hard time coming up with any case in which religious liberty should win,’” Gallagher reported on Feldblum’s reply.
Lee said on the floor of the Senate:
These are not the words of an open-minded jurist. These are not the words of an open-minded lawyer. These are the words of an activist intent on stamping out all opposition to her cause. In fact, she has even said as much. She said: “[G]ranting liberty to gay people . . . cannot be adequately advanced if `pockets of resistance’ are permitted to flourish.” Who is she to decide whether someone should be permitted to persist in their own religious belief simply because those beliefs happen to conflict with a particular political worldview?
According to Lee, Feldblum was nominated to the EEOC by Obama in 2009, but Obama managed to get around Senate confirmation rules by seating her on the EEOC while Congress was in recess. Ultimately, she was confirmed on a 54-41 vote during the lame-duck session in 2010, with only two Republicans voting in her favor. Feldblum completed her second term in July 2018.
In December 2017, Trump re-nominated Feldblum to the EEOC, along with two Republicans, to create a 3-2 GOP majority on the commission.
“If Feldblum were a typical Democrat, it might make sense to let her nomination proceed through the Senate along with her two Republican colleagues,” Lee said in a statement in February. “But Feldblum is no typical Democrat. Her radical views on marriage and the appropriate use of government power place her far outside even the liberal mainstream.”
The senator added:
Feldblum has argued that, “I, for one, am not sure marriage is a normatively good institution.” Instead of promoting marriage as the best arrangement for the emotional and economic security of families, Feldblum believes “all of us are harmed… when society fails to acknowledge the wide array of non-marital social structures.”
Feldblum even signed a manifesto proposing government recognition of “diverse kinds” of partnerships that “move beyond the narrow confines of marriage politics” in the United States.
Lee advises those who minimize concerns about Feldblum maintaining a seat on the EEOC to consider what she told LGBT media the Washington Bladein an interview in 2015, following the EEOC’s landmark ruling that established sexual orientation as a protected identity under federal employment law.
What the EEOC has done is offer a chance to bring cases of LGBT discrimination under existing law. That is a very big deal. But that does not remove the need for an explicit federal law that would give LGBT people and employers across the country absolute certainty that discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity will be prohibited. That is what adding sexual orientation and gender identity to federal non-discrimination laws would do and that would be a very important thing to achieve.
Asked about whether the EEOC’s ruling could be applied to other areas of federal law, Feldblum replied, “The EEOC has jurisdiction only over employment. But other federal agencies that enforce sex discrimination provisions often look to our interpretation for guidance in interpreting the laws they enforce.”
Paul Mirengoff at Powerline first wrote of Trump’s re-nomination of Feldblum who, if confirmed, would serve until 2023.
“It’s astonishing that a radical LGBT activist and Obama nominee who faced fierce resistance the first two times she was before the Senate was (is?) on the verge of being confirmed with virtually no fuss now that the White House and Senate are controlled by Republicans,” Mirengoff observed.
The Powerline author noted that, in an August article at Medium, Feldblum – with her renomination stalled –attempted to “position herself as a moderate on the issue of gay dignity vs. religious liberty.”
“Moderates, she says, are those who look to accommodate both sets of rights, rather than adopting a ‘winner-take-all’ attitude,” he wrote. “She cites Justice Kennedy and his opinion in Masterpiece Cakeshop v. Colorado ( a punt, basically) as the model of moderation in this area.”
Mirengoff, nevertheless, observed it is Feldblum’s activist role on the EEOC – which is on the public record – that shows the way to how she would continue her tenure on the commission. He wrote:
The problem is that Feldblum’s public record — including her interview with Gallagher and her conduct at the EEOC — shows that her respect for religion doesn’t prevent her from wanting to run roughshod over sincerely held religious beliefs when they conflict with her overriding mission of maximizing “gay dignity.”
The EEOC is one of those “independent” – read rogue – federal agencies created by Congress that exercises considerable power with no accountability to American citizens. The commission is not part of one of the three branches of government, yet still does its share of legislative, judicial, and executive decision-making. Operating as part of a “fourth branch of government,” the EEOC might be considered by many to be smack in the middle of “the swamp.”
With Lee continuing to block her renomination, CNSNews.com observed a December 18 column at Medium, in which Feldblum again attempted to present herself as a moderate.
In her column, she wrote that “both religious people and LGBT people (and LGBT people who are religious) live in this country and that they (we) must find a way to live together in as much harmony as possible.”
I believe there are some situations in which the rights of religious liberty for organizations who believe homosexuality is sinful will conflict with and should prevail over the rights of LGBT people who might experience discrimination at the hands of such religious organizations. The reason I believe that is because I care deeply about preserving religious pluralism in our country — even if it that means protecting religious organizations whose views I disagree with. That is the point of pluralism.
Several days after the release of her column, the Log Cabin Republicans – who advocate for LGBT rights within the GOP – released a statement criticizing Lee and others who are objecting to Feldblum’s confirmation.
“Marriage equality is the law of the land, and a right supported by the vast majority of Americans,” said Jerri Ann Henry, executive director of the group, in a statement sent to Breitbart News, adding:
Members of the EEOC have an obligation to uphold established law to ensure no American faces wrongful workplace discrimination for their gender, race, religion, or the gender of their spouse. In this regard, Ms. Feldblum has carried out her role with distinction. If Sen. Lee wants to better represent Republicans on this issue, he should do so by supporting marriage, not by playing politics over settled law.
Nevertheless, Feldblum’s comments during her tenure on the EEOC have drawn significant criticism from conservative writers and faith and family organizations.
Christian Adams at PJ Media also noted the mysterious nature of Trump’s re-nomination of someone who would appear to be at odds with much of the president’s agenda.
“Feldblum is the ideological architect of all of the most radical LGBTWHATEVER agenda items of the Obama presidency: transvestites in girls locker rooms, lawless expansion of federal employment oversight, you name it,” Adams said.
Family Research Council referred to Feldblum’s expressed views that religious liberty should take a back seat to LGBT “rights” as “chilling,” and urged the Trump administration “to withdraw Feldblum’s name from consideration and find a candidate with at least a veneer of objectivity.”
Daniel Horowitz at Conservative Review observed Feldblum is “the lead architect of Obama’s transgender agenda, mandating that schools and states bring one gender into private dressing rooms of the opposite gender.”
“Under her tenure, the EEOC has codified the entire sexual alphabet soup agenda, including ‘sex stereotyping,’ into the Civil Rights Act without approval from Congress. An ‘independent’ agency, indeed!”