Better Know An Anti-LGBT Senate Candidate: Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R-MI)

Second in a series examining how anti-LGBT Senate candidates have worked to hurt the cause of equality.

With his primary win last Tuesday, nine-term former Rep. Pete Hoekstra (R-MI) will be the Republican nominee against incumbent Sen. Debbie Stabenow (D). Unlike the incumbent, who has had a solid record in support of equality, Hoekstra has consistently worked to oppose the LGBT community on every major issue.

Over 18 years in Congress, his unsuccessful 2010 campaign for Michigan governor, and this Senate race:

1. Hoekstra actively pushed anti-LGBT bills. At least nine times, he signed on as a co-sponsor of anti-equality measures including the unconstitutional Defense of Marriage Act of 1996, a proposal to amend the U.S. constitution to prevent states from voluntarily recognizing same-sex unions, and a radical proposal to take away the right of same-sex couples to challenge discriminatory laws in state or federal courts.

2. Hoekstra backed an effort to restrict same-sex adoption. In 1999, he voted in favor of an amendment adding a rider to the District of Columbia Appropriations Act that would have prohibited “any funding for the joint adoption of a child between individuals who are not related by blood or marriage.”

3. Hoekstra has been a virtual zero on LGBT rights. He earned a zero rating from the Human Rights Campaign, voting against LGBT equality 100 percent of the time, in the 104th, 105th, 106th, 107th, 108th, 109th, and 110th Congresses. In the 111th Congress, he earned just a 10 percent score after voting against one anti-gay procedural motion.

4. Hoekstra has not even practiced non-discrimination personally. In addition to voting against the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, he refused to even adopt a non-discrimination policy against LGBT discrimination for employees in his own Congressional office. He also voted for an amendment in 1998 that would have effectively nullified President Clinton’s executive order prohibiting discrimination based on sexual orientation in the federal civilian workforce.

5. Hoekstra proudly boasts of awards he received from a designated hate group. His Senate campaign site highlights that he voted 93 percent of the time with the Family Research Council (FRC). His 2010 gubernatorial campaign site biography page noted that he received both the “Family, Faith and Freedom Award” and “True Blue Award” from the organization. The Southern Poverty Law Center has designated FRC as a hate group for its record of “false claims about the LGBT community based on discredited research and junk science.”

6. Hoekstra has proudly promoted his anti-LGBT backers. In this Senate campaign, he said “I could not be prouder to announce the endorsement of Rick Santorum. This is a major endorsement and shows that our campaign continues to build momentum.” In his 2010 gubernatorial campaign, Hoekstra ran an ad in which Focus on the Family Founder and anti-LGBT activist James Dobson praises him for supporting “traditional marriage.”

Listen to the Dobson endorsement ad:

Hoekstra has often attacked judicial rulings in favor of LGBT equality as “egregious judicial activism,” finding it inexplicable that courts could rule in favor of equal protection when he “firmly” believes marriage “is uniquely and essentially the union of one man and one woman.”


Hoekstra’s record is not just one of opposing LGBT rights, but one of actively seeking to take them away. His election to the U.S. Senate would be a huge threat to LGBT people and families.