January 3, 2017 at 3:35 pm EDT | by Michael K. Lavers
Tillerson confirmation hearing scheduled for Jan. 11
Rex Tillerson, gay news, Washington Blade

The confirmation hearing for ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson is scheduled to take place on Jan. 11. (Photo by William Munoz; courtesy Wikimedia Commons)

The confirmation hearing for President-elect Trump’s nominee for secretary of state is tentatively scheduled to take place on Jan. 11.

A Senate Foreign Relations Committee aide told the Washington Blade on Tuesday that the confirmation hearing for ExxonMobil CEO Rex Tillerson “may continue” through Jan. 12.

Trump announced Tillerson’s nomination last month.

Tillerson’s ties to Russian President Vladimir Putin have sparked concern amid the backdrop of allegations that the Kremlin sought to influence the outcome of the presidential election.

Tillerson in 2011 signed a $300 billion agreement with Russia that would allow his company to drill for oil in the Arctic Ocean. The sanctions that the Obama administration imposed against the Kremlin in 2014 over the annexation of Crimea and other interventions in Ukraine derailed the project.

Putin in 2013 signed a controversial law that bans the promotion of so-called gay propaganda to minors in Russia. The Obama administration last week expelled 35 Russian diplomats from the U.S. and issued sanctions against two Russian intelligence agencies who the White House claims tried to interfere with the election.

Anti-gay discrimination case against ExxonMobil ‘still pending’

ExxonMobil in 2015 added sexual orientation and gender identity to its nondiscrimination policy. Freedom to Work, an LGBT advocacy group, in 2013 filed a complaint against Tillerson’s company that alleged it showed bias against prospective employees who were gay.

A spokesperson for the Illinois Human Rights Commission told the Blade last month that a second lawsuit accusing ExxonMobil of anti-gay discrimination is “still pending.”

Tillerson was a member of the Boy Scouts of America’s executive board when it voted to allow openly gay scouts into the organization in 2013.

The promotion of LGBT rights abroad has been a cornerstone of U.S. foreign policy during Obama’s second term. It remains unclear whether the Trump administration will continue this policy.

Michael K. Lavers is the international news editor of the Washington Blade. Follow Michael

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