Confirm Aponte

El Salvador’s U.S. ambassador Mari Carmen Aponte has become one of the latest targets of Republican attacks.

GOP lawmakers are threatening to reject Aponte’s formal re-nomination to the post in San Salvador –which she has held solidly since 2010.

The reasons for the opposition are nothing short of flimsy: some old and unproven rumors of an ex boyfriend with alleged ties to the Castro regime, although she has received several top security clearances. The other excuse for the hold-up: a conservative outcry over an op-ed on gay rights she penned earlier this year in El Salvador.

The op-ed, written in Spanish under the title “For the Elimination of Prejudices Wherever They Exist,” was published in June in response to a State Department message to ambassadors around the globe urging them to recognize gay pride month. El Salvador is among 80 nations that has signed a U.N. declaration for the elimination of violence against gays and lesbians.

Alarmed by the op-ed –an essay that in the United States would be taken for a collection of talking points-conservative groups in El Salvador contacted legislators here asking for Aponte’s dismissal. The call was somewhat expected because El Salvador recently started moving towards recognizing the rights of gays, while conservatives were reacting to anything remotely in favor of fair treatment.

But that is in El Salvador. Here, it is practically inconceivable that in 2011 our legislators would block the nomination of an effective diplomat because of her standing on gay rights.

The extremism of Republicans and their stubborn refusal to support anything the President stands for is appalling in a nation that is supposed to be an international model of advancement. Congress must confirm Aponte’s nomination and focus on real problems. They seem to be in abundance.