Donald Trump’s extreme anti-LGBT running mate Mike Pence is set to step into the spotlight tonight for the Vice Presidential debate.
Hillary Clinton’s deputy, US Senator and avowed LGBT ally Tim Kaine, will tonight face off against Indiana Governor Mike Pence in a debate at Virginia’s Longwood University, moderated by Elaine Quijano of CBS.
Pence has one of the worst records on LGBT rights of any candidate on a major party’s Presidential ticket in recent times.
A hardline evangelical, the Governor of Indiana stirred up international outrage last year when he signed Indiana’s controversial ‘Religious Freedom Restoration Act’, which gave businesses the right to discriminate against gay people on the grounds of religion.
Governor Pence previously suggested that HIV prevention funding be drained in order to fund state-sponsored ‘gay cure’ therapy, and earlier this year appeared unable to answer when asked whether it should be legal to fire people because of their sexuality.
An investigation last month found that Pence approved extreme anti-LGBT articles when he was the head of the Indiana Policy Review journal in the 1990s.
In an item published under his editorial tenure in the December 1993 issue, Pence’s journal criticised The Wall Street Journal for taking part in a job fair for gay journalists – suggesting that “gaydom” was a “pathological condition”, and arguing that gay journalists would be biased in their coverage because of their sexuality.
It claimed: “The more extreme of the gay movement consider themselves members of a sexual determined political party.”
Another edition published in 1993 attacked Bill Clinton for reforms to permit closeted gay people to serve in the army.
It claimed: “Homosexuals are not as a group able bodied. They are known to carry extremely high rates of disease brought on because of the nature of their sexual practices and the promiscuity which is a hallmark of their lifestyle.”
Human Rights Campaign President Chad Griffin said: “Donald Trump’s warped vision for America puts Mike Pence – the face of modern day discrimination – a heartbeat away from the presidency.
“The choice is crystal clear. While Tim Kaine has worked as governor of Virginia and in Congress to protect LGBTQ people from discrimination, Mike Pence has built his entire career on denying LGBTQ people equal treatment under the law.
“Pence is nationally known for targeting Hoosiers so they could be denied service because of who they are or whom they love.
“We cannot allow Mike Pence and Donald Trump to ‘Take America Backward Again’.”
Ahead of the debate HRC published a summary of the pair’s stances on LGBT rights, below:
On Marriage Equality
Pence: Pence opposed the Supreme Court’s nationwide marriage equality ruling. After the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), which barred legally married same-sex couple from having their marriages recognized by the federal government, was ruled unconstitutional, he urged amending the state of Indiana’s constitution to outlaw marriage equality.
Kaine: Kaine discussed his support of marriage equality at HRC’s national dinner in September. Coming out in favor of marriage equality in 2013, Kaine said: “I believe all people, regardless of sexual orientation, should be guaranteed the full rights to the legal benefits and responsibilities of marriage under the Constitution….I hope the Supreme Court will affirm that principle.”
On Non-Discrimination Protections
Pence: While in Congress, Pence voted against the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. As governor, his “right to discriminate” bill could have allowed businesses to discriminate and deny service to LGBTQ people because of who they are or whom they love. He opposed the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” by saying it would turn the military into “a backdrop for social experimentation.”
Kaine: Kaine is an original co-sponsor of the Equality Act — federal legislation that would finally guarantee explicit, permanent protections for LGBTQ people under our existing civil rights laws. One of Kaine’s first actions as Virginia Governor in 2006 was to sign an executive order adding sexual orientation protections to the non-discrimination policy for state workers. He has voted in favor of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) and the Student Non-Discrimination Act (SNDA).
On Transgender Equality
Pence: Opposed guidance from the Department of Education that clarifies that transgender students have a right under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 to access restrooms consistent with their gender identity, saying, “The federal government has no business getting involved in issues of this nature.”
Kaine: Kaine called for the repeal of North Carolina’s dangerous and vile HB2. He recently signed onto an amicus brief in the 2nd Circuit case, Christiansen v Omnicom Group Inc., arguing that sexual orientation and gender identity discrimination are prohibited under the Civil Rights Act of 1964. Kaine also expressed support for the Obama Administration’s decision to drop the outdated ban on transgender troops serving openly in the military.
On Hate Crimes
Pence: He voted against the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, calling it a “radical social agenda.” Under Pence’s leadership, Indiana still lacks a hate crimes law that covers LGBTQ people.
Kaine: As Governor, Kaine told the Roanoke Times that, “…crimes against gays should be added to the list of hate crimes as long as the statute is on the book…”
HIV and AIDS and Conversion Therapy
Pence: Opposed funding to treat HIV unless it was offset by cuts to programs that he claimed “…celebrate and encourage the types of behaviors that facilitate the spreading of the HIV virus.” Pence instead preferred funding harmful conversion therapy programs that would seek to change “sexual behavior.” Last year, Pence dragged his feet on supporting a needle exchange program in Indiana to combat an HIV outbreak related to needle-sharing among opioid drug users that was later deemed “preventable” due to his moral opposition to needle-exchange programs.
Kaine: In a speech at HRC’s 2016 National Dinner, Kaine pledged to “take on drug companies and cap out-of-pocket expenses so that people with HIV can get medication they need at a price they can afford.” He also committed to address “any stigmatization of HIV criminalization laws that still exist here and around the world.” Last week, HRC’s Noël Gordon released a powerful OpEd about how Hillary Clinton is the only choice in November, particularly since only Clinton has a plan to help combat the HIV crisis facing gay black men. Gordon noted how Pence’s failed leadership in Indiana failed to contain an HIV outbreak.