A US senator is attempting to block a lesbian attorney’s nomination to the US Equal Employment Opportunity Commission (EEOC).
Mike Lee, the senator for Utah, accused nominee Chai Feldblum of being a strong and unreasonable opponent of ‘religious freedom’.
He also objected to Feldblum stance that an employer cannot cite religious beliefs as grounds for refusing to hire certain job candidates.
Lee invoked a longstanding rule to halt the nomination of Feldblum, for what would be her third term on the EEOC.
The rule Lee used allows a single senator to block or kill off a non-judiciary presidential nomination, the Washington Blade reports.
Washington Senator Patty Murray, who has been vocal in her support of Feldblum’s nomination, also said that the Senate has approved almost all EEOC nominees by unanimous consent.
However, Lee objected when Murray asked for unanimous consent for the confirmation of Feldblum along with GOP nominees Janel Dhillon and Daniel Gade.
Lee has a record of arguing in favor of religious freedoms in the Senate.
In 2015, Lee attempted to pass a religious freedom bill, the First Amendment Defense Act, which would prevent federal agencies from blocking tax-exempt status to individuals, or businesses, who see marriage as the union between a man and woman.
Lee argued the bill would protect First Amendment rights.
In response, Human Rights Campaign Government Affairs Director David Stacy released a statement calling on Congress ‘to oppose this reckless and irresponsible legislation that has nothing to do with the First Amendment and everything to do with taxpayer-funded discrimination.’
Lee also cited the bill in while attacking the legalization of same-sex marriage by the Supreme Court.
Feldblum’s nomination stems from a longstanding tradition of bipartisan cooperation by the president with regards to selecting nominees for the EEOC.
Earlier this year, President Donald Trump agreed to a request by Senate Democrats to nominate Feldblum, while also nominating to other candidates selected by Senate Republicans.
The tradition dates back to 1965, where the EEOC was created to police discriminatory employment practices under the Civil Rights Act of 1964.
Since its inception, three of the five commissioners have been selected for their terms by the party that holds the White House, while the remaining two have been chosen by the minority party.