GOP Senators Use LGBT Rights Stance to Successfully Block Confirmation of Ambassador to El Salvador

Last week I wrote that GOP Senators were working to block confirmation of Mari Carmen Aponte, Obama's pick for Ambassador to El Salvador, who has been serving since Obama made her a recess appointee in September 2010, partly by using a June editorial she wrote supporting Gay Pride as reasons for objecting.

AponteThey succeeded:

Senate Republicans successfully filibustered on Monday the confirmation of an ambassadorial nominee, citing a pro-LGBT editorial she wrote as one reason to vote against her. The cloture vote to advance the nomination of Mari Carmen Aponte for the position of U.S. ambassador to El Salvador failed by 49-37 on a mostly party-line basis.

Said Sen. Jim DeMint of Aponte's editorial in which she argued against homophobia and violence against LGBT people:

"In her recess-appointed capacity as ambassador to El Salvador, Ms. Aponte has inflamed tensions in the very country where she should be improving diplomatic relations. Her decision to publish an opinion piece hostile to the culture of El Salvadorans presents even more doubts about her fitness for the job. This op-ed upset a large number of community and pro-life groups in El Salvador who were insulted by Ms. Aponte’s rhetoric."

Wrote Aponte in the piece, called, For the Elimination of Prejudices Wherever They Exist:

"No one should be subjected to aggression because of who he is or who he loves. Homophobia and brutal hostility are often based on lack of understanding about what it truly means to be gay or transgender. To avoid negative perceptions, we must work together with education and support for those facing those who promote hatred."


  1. Jesus says

    “Her decision to publish an opinion piece hostile to the culture of El Salvadorans presents even more doubts about her fitness for the job.”

    Since when is a 60 year old white senator from South Carolina the expert on “El Salvadoran” culture?

  2. Frank says

    Who in their right mind really believes that if a Republican is elected president, social issues will really be left off the table? I’m sorry, but they have done little to nothing to advance to rights of gay people in the country and quite frankly four to eight years of a Republican president, house, and senate really scares the hell out of me.

  3. rayrayj says

    It is time for all of us to start working really hard to send home as many conservative GOP politicians as we possibly can. I know many of the democrats aren’t much better but the conservative GOP block is the worst of the worst.

  4. rafi says

    Democrats need to use this incident and bring it up constantly. It completely epitomizes the single-minded obstructionist approach of the Republicans. Ten years ago this would’ve been considered about as routine a vote as you can get. Now absolutely everything is considered “controversial” and filibuster-worthy, of course because Republicans think it makes the Obama administration look weak.

    There is no argument here. Ambassador Aponte was advocating against violence for a group of people. The vast majority of Americans, regardless where they stand on marriage or adoption, don’t think think it’s okay to be violent to gays. The Republican leadership is openly saying that is merely a cultural thing.

    If an ambassador muted his or her condemnation of any other clearly immoral act being committed by his or her host country, Republicans would immediately cry foul, lamenting that America is compromising her values by rolling over. When it’s about violence toward gays, and when it has the potential to help them politically, they are silent about this absolute moral wrong.

    It is disgusting, vile behavior, made all the worse that it’s being done out in the open.

  5. rafi says

    GAYLIB, Reid voted against it because that allows him to bring it up again later. I guess the rule is only those who vote against cloture can reintroduce it again. He’s done it before when it’s become clear it won’t pass.

  6. Vern Duffordvern says

    Bigotry-Wikipedia,the free encyclopedia
    A bigot is a person obstinately or intolerantly devoted to his or her own opinions and prejudices,especially one exhibiting intolerance,and animosity towards others… a REPUBLIICAN.

  7. says

    As several have said, if you are disgusted by the GOP then you have to do your part to push their sorry asses out of politics and that means moving to the front of the line and slapping down those you know who support and cast their votes for Republicans. If you stay home, fail to vote, fail to support the our side then we get the denial of someone like Marie Carmen. Yell at your own senators. You put them there, you supported their campaign – scream often and scream loud.

    Gay Republicans? I nag and embarass them every time I run across one. They are stupid idiotic fools who make their own lives miserable and hurt the lives of other gay people – people they want to have as friends, lovers and partners. If you know a gay republican take them to task.

  8. Glenn says

    Rafi is correct that Reid voted against it for procedural reasons (i.e., once it was clear it would fail — had he been the 60th vote for cloture, he would have voted for it of course). Under Senate rules only someone voting with the “successful” side of a question can move to reconsider the vote on that question.

  9. Crash2Parties says

    The sad thing is that instead of using this to political advantage by contrasting it to the views of their progressive base, the Democrats will use it as an excuse or leverage to move further right.

    When will they get that no matter how far they move to the right they are not likely to seduce the centrist Republicans?

    But they will lose the actual progressives and liberals and leftist as they begin to group together under a common banner in order to become a marketable bloc. My money is on the Green Party. Doesn’t matter if they even have a candidate, the purpose is to separate and identify the percentage points that the Dems lose.

  10. Javier says

    What part of her statement is offensive and to who? Are you kidding me??? She is talking about acceptance, tolerance, and love for others who are not like you. (Note to Christian right-wing zealots: What would Jesus do?)

    This is absurd and ridiculous. I am trying to wrap my head around what she may have done or said that was in any way shape or form offensive.

    Would those Republicans that blocked her confirmation prefer a speech on hate and intolerance?

  11. says

    this is not news – Republicans care about protecting bigots than about creating a world free of bigotry.

    the GOP harnesses the power of Bigoted Stupidity for their own gain. that’s their “energy plan”

  12. DN says

    Who the hell is our ambassador to Saudi Arabia and how did he (or she (HA!)) survive the filibuster process?

    God forbid anyone write an op-ed that says, “women deserve the right to drive a car,” and become ambassador to the zaniest of the zany nations on Earth.

  13. andnowwhat says

    demint always inflames the tensions in the very country where he should be improving domestic relations. his decision to be hostile on our senate floor presents even more doubts about his fitness for the job. his statements upset the majority of pro-equality americans who are insulted by his rhetoric.

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