Republican senators have successfully filibustered the confirmation of President Barack Obama’s ambassador to El Salvador. The Republican opposition cited a pro-LGBT Pride op-ed that she wrote as among their objections, reports AP.
On a vote of 49-37, the Senate refused to move ahead with the nomination of Mari Carmen Aponte, a Washington lawyer and Hispanic activist. She has served as ambassador in San Salvador since September 2010 after the president, facing GOP opposition, made her a recess appointee. Her temporary tenure is to run out at the end of the year. ...
Conservative anger toward Aponte is based, in part, on an op-ed she wrote June 28 in La Prensa Grafica, a daily newspaper in El Salvador, The essay was in response to a State Department cable to ambassadors worldwide urging them to recognize gay pride month.
In a Spanish-language piece titled "For the Elimination of Prejudices Wherever They Exist," Aponte wrote: "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."
South Carolina conservative GOP Sen. Sen. Jim DeMint––who has said that same-sex marriage is "destructive" to society and gays are so "immoral"––led the opposition against Aponte. The ambassador "has inflamed tensions in the very country where she should be improving diplomatic relations," claimed the notoriously anti-gay senator, reported the Washington Blade. "Her decision to publish an opinion piece hostile to the culture of El Salvadorans presents even more doubts about her fitness for the job."
DeMint also vocally opposed Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor' confirmation––as well as that of Washington D.C. Superior Court. Judge Marisa Demeo, one of President Obama’s first openly LGBT appointees.
Aponte is the first Puerto Rican-American woman to serve as a US ambassador. The filibuster by GOP senators––including Florida's Marco Rubio––has been sharply criticized by Latino leaders and politicians.