President-Elect Donald J. Trump’s pick to head the Department of Interior has not exactly endeared himself to the LGBT community.

Ryan Zinke, a U.S. Congressman from Montana, was nominated by Trump on Thursday to lead the department responsible for preserving and protecting America’s natural resources and land. In his re-election campaign for the U.S. House, Zinke made a controversial comment during an October debate against challenger Denise Juneau, a lesbian.

Responding to a question concerning how he would protect LGBT rights, Zinke said he didn’t mind “if you want to be a lesbian.”

Related: Juneau First Gay Woman To Seek Montana Congressional Seat

The answer produced boos from the audience but it was not clear if those boos were in response to Zinke accepting homosexuality as an acceptable lifestyle or the implication that homosexuality is a choice.

A former U.S. Navy Seal, Zinke, 55, grew up in Montana, and is an avid outdoorsman. In the race for Montana’s lone seat in Congress, Zinke, a Republican, received 280,472 votes (56 percent) to 201,758 votes (41 percent) for Juneau, a Democrat.

Zinke cited the Constitution’s freedom of expression and religion in answering the question on LGBT rights.

“And so I do support you – if you want to be lesbian, you want to be Muslim, you want to be whatever,” he said.

On the Human Rights Campaign’s most recent legislative scorecard Zinke received a 0 score.


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