Sen. Jim DeMint (R-SC) is attempting to derail the confirmation of Mari Carmen Aponte — who President Obama recess appointed as his ambassador to El Salvador in August 2010 — out of concerns that she is “promoting the homosexual lifestyle” in the Latin American nation, Andrés Duque of Blabbeando reports. During a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing earlier this month, DeMint read from an op-ed Aponte wrote commemorating Salvadorean President Mauricio Funes’ Decree 56, “which prohibits all forms of discrimination by the government of El Salvador on the basis of sexual orientation or identity,” and insinuated that the piece insulted “pro-family” groups in El Salvador and the United States:
DEMINT: In her OpEd, Ms. Aponte, presuming to represent the view of all Americans, in strongly promoting the homosexual lifestyle, wrote that “everyone has the responsibility to inform our neighbors and friends about what it means to be lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender.” The OpEd 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.
I would also like to ask unanimous consent to submit, for the record, a response to the OpEd from a coalition of more than three dozen groups and a letter from Salvadorean groups to the United States Senate asking the Senate to oppose Ms. Aponte’s confirmation and I quote “We respectfully request that Ms. Aponte be removed from her post as soon as possible so that El Salvador may enjoy the benefits of having a person as a government representative of your noble country.”
I would like to apologize to the Salvadorean people on behalf of the United States and reassure them that most Americans share their values. Ms. Aponte’s personal, professional and political contact over many years raises numerous questions of judgement. I will vote ‘no on Ms. Aponte’s confirmation and strongly recommend my colleagues do the same.
But as Aponte explained, “The OpEd reflects the policies of the Obama administration, the Salvadorean government and sixty-three other countries,” she said to La Prensa, “It was not drafted as an insult to anyone.”
DeMint is “urging the U.S. Senate not to appoint Aponte as U.S. Ambassador to El Salvador based on an OpEd in which she saluted the government of El Salvador for their own initiatives to protect their LGBT populations” — a move that shouldn’t surprise anyone familiar with DeMint’s record on LGBT equality. In October of 2010, the senator “said if someone is openly homosexual, they shouldn’t be teaching in the classroom and he holds the same position on an unmarried woman who’s sleeping with her boyfriend — she shouldn’t be in the classroom.”