(CNSNews.com) -- Senator Mike Lee (R-Utah) is blocking Senate confirmation of President Donald Trump’s nominee to the Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC), Chai Feldblum, for fear she could threaten religious freedom and traditional marriage.
If confirmed, Feldblum, a leftist Democrat and LGBTQ activist who has made controversial comments about religious liberty, would serve her third EEOC term. She was first nominated in 2010 by then-President Barack Obama, and finished her second term in July 2018.
Sen. Lee has asserted that Feldblum “is no typical Democrat,” and could curtail “the rights of religious Americans.”
“Her radical views on marriage and the appropriate use of government power place her far outside even the liberal mainstream,” Sen. Lee wrote, referring to a 2006 manifesto Feldblum signed, which proposed “governmental and private institutional recognition of diverse kinds of partnerships, households, kinship relationships and families” that “move beyond the narrow confines of marriage politics.”
The manifesto proposed that the government define as “legitimate families,” with potential access to “marriage-related” economic benefits, blended families, single-parent families, adult children living with and caring for their parents, queer couples, grandparents raising their grandchildren and close friends or siblings who live together, among other types of households.
The EEOC is a bipartisan commission that enforces federal laws prohibiting discrimination against job applicants or employees on the basis of race, sex, religion, color, national origin, age, disability or genetic information.
In a 2006 interview with the Weekly Standard, Feldblum suggested sexual liberty was more important than religious liberty, and should be prioritized should the two come into conflict.
“Sexual liberty should win in most cases,” Feldblum said. “There can be a conflict between religious liberty and sexual liberty, but in almost all cases the sexual liberty should win because that’s the only way that the dignity of gay people can be affirmed in any realistic manner.”
In an article for Medium on Tuesday, however, Feldblum, whose father was an Orthodox Jewish rabbi, said she believed there were “some situations in which the rights of religious liberty for organizations who believe homosexuality is sinful will conflict with and should prevail over the rights of LGBT people who might experience discrimination at the hands of such religious organizations.”
“The reason I believe that is because I care deeply about preserving religious pluralism in our country – even if it that means protecting religious organizations whose views I disagree with,” Feldblum wrote. Later, she added that Americans should consider “how to ensure both equality for LGBT people and religious pluralism.”
Over the past year, conservative leaders have pushed back against Feldblum’s EEOC nomination, citing her statements from 2006 and from a 2008 article she wrote entitled “Moral Conflict and Conflicting Liberties.”
Editor-in-Chief of The Daily Wire Ben Shapiro said Feldblum was “President Trump’s Worst Federal Nomination” and called her statements “fully radicalized stuff.”
“Feldblum should not be anywhere near the levers of power,” Shapiro wrote. “And it’s particularly inexcusable for President Trump and a Republican Congress to reauthorize her presence there.”
In an article for the American Family Association, radio host Bryan Fischer called Feldblum “the Dragon Queen of Religious Bigotry, a one-woman Spanish Inquisition, who does not, in fact, believe in equality at all.”
“What makes Ms. Feldblum a threat to religious liberty is that she has already decided that the prohibition against religious discrimination is meaningless – Christians in her view can be discriminated against at will and without restriction,” Fischer added.
The Family Research Council said Feldblum’s statements on religious liberty were “chilling,” and urged the Trump administration “to withdraw Feldblum’s name from consideration and find a candidate with at least a veneer of objectivity.”