Senate panel backs Trump nominee for religious freedom post

Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback (AP Photo/Orlin Wagner)

WASHINGTON (AP) – The Republican-led Senate Foreign Relations Committee narrowly approved the nomination of Kansas Gov. Sam Brownback to be U.S. ambassador-at-large for international religious freedom.

On an 11-10 vote Thursday, the panel recommended that the full Senate consider President Donald Trump’s selection of Brownback for the State Department post.

Brownback thanked the committee in a tweet “for voting on my nomination favorably.”

LGBT rights groups decry Brownback’s nomination because of his conservative views on issues such as same-sex marriage.

During his confirmation hearing, Brownback defended his decision as Kansas governor to scrap an executive order that barred discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity. He says state lawmakers should have resolved the matter, not the governor.

Brownback made Kansas an economic laboratory by aggressively cutting taxes.