Vice Presidential hopeful Tim Kaine has responded to criticism that he did not challenge Republican contender Mike Pence on his appalling record on LGBT issues.
Democrat Kaine appeared in a debate with Pence on Thursday, but was criticised for not raising the issue.
In an interview with CNN, firstly Kaine notes that moderator Elaine Quijano did not ask questions on LGBT rights.
“Well, it is the case that there was no question that was asked that dealt with Governor Pence or just the issue of LGBT equality,” Kaine says.
“Hillary and I are strongly for LGBT equality, including marriage equality, and a Trump-Pence ticket is deeply against it, especially Governo Pence,” he added.
But Secretary Clinton’s running mate did go on to say that it was potentially a missed opportunity to challenge Pence on his views.
“That was an opportunity… I would have loved to have had a 93-minute debate instead of a 90-minute debate. But I think that pundit who said that was probably accurate.”
But Kaine expanded on not deviating from the topics asked, saying he wanted to focus on Republican Presidential nominee Donald Trump.
“I viewed this as fundamentally a debate that was about Hillary Clinton and Donald Trump, not about Tim Kaine and Mike Pence. So I went in with the thought that, look, Hillary Clinton is the top of the ticket, and Donald Trump is the top of the ticket, and that’s where I’m going to focus. That was my goal and I think we succeeded at doing it.”
Check out the interview below:
Despite the subject not coming up in the debate, the Clinton campaign has repeatedly hammered Pence on LGBT rights in ads.
A hardline evangelical, Governor of Indiana Mike Pence stirred 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.