Donald Trump’s pick for chief scientist for the Department of Agriculture, Sam Clovis, argues homosexuality is a choice. He also claims it is ‘logical’ to believe protections for the LGBTI community could lead to pedophilia being protected.
Clovis has been criticized by Democrats as being unqualified due to his lack of a scientific background. He holds degrees in political science and public administration and served in the United States Air Force for 25 years.
His comments about the LGBTI community come from a CNN review of his radio broadcasts, writings, and speeches between 2012 and 2014. He also briefly ran for an US Senate seat in Iowa.
Rooted in conservative beliefs and talk radio, Clovis has repeatedly argued against homosexuality.
‘The science on this issue seems to be uncertain’
Despite a lacking scientific background, Clovis’ ideas about homosexuality often stem from the belief that science on the LGBTI community is ‘unsettled’.
In 2011, he wrote an op-ed for the conservative blog the Iowa Republican.
In this piece, he discusses the idea of LGBTI constitutional protections only being possible if homosexuality is genetic and therefore protected under the 14th Amendment.
‘Following this logic, the only way to extend 14th Amendment protections to those in the LGBT lifestyles is if these behaviors are genetically mapped or otherwise discernible. The science on this issue seems to be uncertain, and if one followed the arguments from plaintiffs, the issue argued was that these individuals, because of ‘love,’ should be allowed to ‘marry just like opposite-sex couples.’ What is it really? Is this about genetics or about emotions? The stronger case is genetics, but that is not the argument being advanced.’
He then argues that by this logic left-handed people and blue-eyed people should be constitutionally protected too.
Clovis also claimed at a campaign stop that while the science is still out, ‘as far as we know’ being LGBTI is a choice.
‘Are we going to protect pedophilia?’
In a video of a campaign stop, Clovis continued the idea that being LGBTI is a behavioral choice.
Alarmingly, he then compares protecting this ‘behavioral choice’ to others like pedophilia.
‘Follow the logic, if you engage in a particular behavior, what also becomes protected? If we protect LGBT behavior, what other behaviors are we going to protect? Are we going to protect pedophilia?,’ he questions in the video. ‘Are we going to protect polyamorous marriage relationships? Are we going to protect people who have fetishes? What’s the logical extension of this?
‘It can’t be that we’re going to protect LGBT and then we’ll pull up the ladder. That’s not going to happen, it defies logic. We’re not thinking the consequences of these decisions through.’
When asked if this comparison is extreme, Clovis doubled down: ‘I think it’s a logical extension of thought. And if you cannot follow the logic then you’re denying your in denial.’
The committee has yet to schedule a Senate hearing to confirm or deny Clovis’ nomination.