U.S. senator Jim DeMint is attacking Mari Carmen Aponte, the ambassador to El Salvador, for what he describes as “strongly promoting the homosexual lifestyle” and attempting “to impose a pro-gay agenda” on that nation.
Aponte became interim ambassador in a recess appointment by President Obama in August 2010, but that appointment extends only to the end of this year, so Senate confirmation is required for her to continue in the post. At a confirmation hearing this month, DeMint objected to an op-ed piece Aponte had written for Salvadoran newspaper La Prensa Gráfica, praising the country’s president, Mauricio Funes, for signing a law prohibiting anti-LGBT discrimination by the government of El Salvador as well as a United Nations pledge to eliminate violence against LGBT people, reports the blog Blabbeando.
“The op-ed upset a large number of community and pro-family groups in El Salvador who were insulted by Ms. Aponte’s attempt to impose a pro-gay agenda in their country,” said DeMint, a conservative Republican from South Carolina, during the hearing before the Senate Foreign Relations Committee. DeMint had earlier sought to block Aponte’s appointment because of discredited rumors that Cuban espionage agents had sought to recruit her.
He followed his statements at the hearing with a commentary for the conservative publication Human Events, in which he asserted that Aponte had failed to respect Salvadoran culture when she wrote her op-ed piece. However, as Blabbeando points out, Aponte was praising that nation’s leaders “for their own initiatives to protect their LGBT populations,” and objections to her stand came only from ultra-right-wing elements in El Salvador.
DeMint has taken numerous other anti-LGBT stances, saying that gay people — and sexually active single straight women — shouldn’t be teachers, and that it would bother him to have a gay man or lesbian as president because he considers homosexuality “immoral.”