U.S Senator Mike Lee (R-UT) stood on the floor of the U.S. Senate and objected to the unanimous consent of Chai Feldblum’s confirmation to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
Feldblum, an LGBT activist, was nominated by President Barack Obama in 2009 and was seated while Congress was in recess. She was confirmed by the Senate in 2010 in a lame duck session by 54 to 41 vote. Only two Republicans voted in favor of her confirmation. She finished her second term in 2018, and prior to that, President Donald Trump renominated her for a third term.
Lee, a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter Day Saints, is blocking her nomination on religious liberty grounds. Watch his remarks below:
Read his speech below:
Mr. President, reserving the right to object, I first want to note that it has been suggested that there is only one objection to Chai Feldblum’s nomination to the EEOC. That is not true. I am among those objectors; I am not the lone objector.
My objection to this nominee relates to my belief and religious freedom. You see, religious freedom is very important to me. I am the descendant of people who
wereordered exterminated by the Governor of Missouri on October 27, 1837. Religious intolerance cannot be tolerated in this country, and I see a growing wave of religious intolerance. I see a growing wave of sentimentof people suggesting that on the basis of people’s religious beliefs, they can be subject to adverse government decision-making.
Ms. Feldblum has written that she sees a conflict between religious belief and LGBT liberty as “a zero-sum game” where “a gain for one side necessarily entails a corresponding loss for the other side.” I see no reason why that should be the case, and I think that is fundamentally incompatible with our Nation’s long tradition of pluralism and religious freedom.
Make no mistake–there is no mystery about which side Ms. Feldblum thinks should win. In a separate speech, she said: “There can be a conflict between religious liberty and sexual liberty, but in almost all cases, the sexual liberty should win I’m having a hard time coming up with any case in which religious liberty should win.”
I find these remarks stunning, especially because an entire amendment to the U.S. Constitution–the very first one, by the way–is devoted to religious liberty. 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?
As an EEO Commissioner, Ms. Feldblum would be in a prime position to stamp out those pockets of resistance. She herself has noted: “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.”
The Federal Government should never be used as a tool to stamp out religious liberty–that principle which is so central to our Nation’s founding and to human happiness itself. It is so important that we have to stand behind it. Ms. Feldblum, however, wants to deny exactly that. On that basis, I object to her confirmation.