Senator Mike Lee’s Anti-LGBTQ Activism Threatens Safety & Well-Being of Sexual Harassment and Discrimination Survivors

GLAAD President and CEO: “Senator Lee’s open discrimination against Commissioner Feldblum is exactly why people like her belong on the EEOC.”
December 17, 2018

GLAAD calls on Majority Leader Mitch McConnell to hold EEOC confirmation vote from the full U.S. Senate

NEW YORK – GLAAD, the world’s largest LGBTQ media advocacy organization, today emphatically condemned U.S. Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah) for putting the safety and well-being of many Americans – including numerous LGBTQ people – who experience sexual harassment or discrimination at the workplace on the back burner so he could pursue his anti-LGBTQ activism by threatening to block Chai Feldblum’s nomination to serve another term on the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).

“Senator Mike Lee’s opposition to Commissioner Feldblum is not based on merit, but rather an opposition based who she is and how she doesn’t align with the Senator’s anti-LGBTQ beliefs. Senator Lee’s open discrimination against Commissioner Feldblum is exactly why people like her belong on the EEOC,” said Sarah Kate Ellis, President and CEO of GLAAD. “With many Americans seeking justice after surviving discrimination and sexual harassment in the workplace, it’s imperative that Majority Leader Mitch McConnell force a Senate-wide vote and confirm Chai Feldblum. One anti-LGBTQ activist should not silence many people seeking justice under the law.”

The EEOC is comprised of five individuals, three who represent the party of the White House and two who are in the minority, who issue guidance on workplace discrimination and help many people who experience discrimination (and even sexual harassment) seek justice by helping those individuals file complaints in court. According to Vox, nominees are typically lumped together and are agreed upon in a fast-track, bipartisan basis. Senator Lee’s opposition not only bucks tradition, but could grind all sexual harassment or discrimination complaints to a halt in 2019 should the nominations of Feldblum and two Republicans fall short. 

Senator Lee issued a statement earlier this year citing his opposition to Feldblum, saying the commissioner wants to “use the might of government to stamp out traditional marriage supporters.” However, Lee’s anti-LGBTQ activism runs years long. Between opposing historic LGBTQ moments like nationwide marriage equality and the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” Senator Lee has made it clear he wants to silence LGBTQ Americans and rollback decades of hard-fought acceptance. For more on Senator Lee’s anti-LGBTQ activism, see below.

BACKGROUND INFORMATION: U.S. Senator Mike Lee’s Horrendous Anti-LGBTQ Record

·         Extreme anti-LGBTQ politician who strongly opposed marriage equalityopposed repealing Don’t Ask Don’t Tellvoted against the Employment Nondiscrimination Act, and sponsored legislation allowing anti-LGBTQ people and organizations to deny goods and services to LGBTQ people without retaliation.

·         Believed employers have right to fire employees because they are gay.

·         Knocked Costa Rica’s efforts to legalize marriage equality. 

·         Reintroduced the so-called “First Amendment Defense Act” in the 2018 legislative session, yet another attempt to undermine marriage equality and provide a license to discriminate to those who oppose.

·         Fearmongered on far-right media about the supposed threats that marriage equality would bring to churches and religious people.

·         “Strongly disagreed” with the Supreme Court’s power to “change marriage,” calling it “a big problem.”