Sam Clovis has argued that homosexuality is a "choice" and sanctioning same-sex marriage could lead to the legalisation of paedophilia, a CNN KFile report found.
Clovis, President Donald Trump's choice for chief scientist for the Department of Agriculture, made the remarks between 2012 and 2014 in writings, radio broadcasts and speeches. According to CNN KFile, Clovis has argued that the science on homosexuality is unsettled and that "LGBT behaviour" is a choice.
According to the American Psychological Association, while there is no scientific consensus on the causes of sexual orientation, "most people experience little or no sense of choice about their sexual orientation".
In an op-ed in April 2011 for a conservative blog Iowa Republican, Clovis argued that the science of being LGBT was unsettled.
He also believes LGBT people should not be given protections under the 14th Amendment of the Constitution. The 14th Amendment says that no state can make or enforce any law that curtails the rights of US citizens or deny a person the "equal protection of the laws".
Clovis argued that if being LGBT was genetic then other people genetically-disposed, such as left-handed people, should also receive constitutional protections.
Following this logic, the only way to extend 14th Amendment protections to those in the LGBT lifestyles is if these behaviours 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 has reiterated these beliefs on several occasions, CNN KFile found. During his failed campaign for the Republican Senate nomination in Iowa, Clovis said that the science was still uncertain but "as far as we know" being LGBT is a choice. Clovis concluded that protecting LGBT people could mean that paedophilia would also be protected.
"Someone who engages in LGBT behaviour -- I don't know what the science is on this, I think it's still out -- but as far as we know, LGBT behaviour is a choice they make," he says in a video obtained by CNN KFile.
"If we protect LGBT behaviour, what other behaviours are we going to protect? Are we going to protect paedophilia? Are we going to protect poly-amorous marriage relationships? Are we going to protect people who have fetishes? What's the logical extension of this?"
Senate Democrats have criticised Clovis' nomination to the USDA post and argue that his lack of scientific background makes him unqualified.