New Vice President Mike Pence supported ‘gay cure’ therapy, and other terrifying beliefs
As Vice President-elect Mike Pence prepares to become the most homophobic politician to enter the White House in recent history, we take a look at his most shocking stances.
A hardline evangelical who has not supported a single LGBT reform across nearly two decades in politics, VP-elect Pence has one of the worst records on equality of any President or Vice President in recent memory.
The Governor of Indiana stirred up international outrage last year when he signed Indiana’s controversial ‘Religious Freedom Restoration Act’, giving businesses the right to discriminate against gay people on the grounds of religion.
Pence claimed the law was intended to “protect” organisations from having to provide services for same-sex weddings, saying: “I support the freedom of religion for every Hoosier [Indiana citizen] of every faith.
“The Constitution of the United States and the Indiana Constitution both provide strong recognition of the freedom of religion but today, many people of faith feel their religious liberty is under attack.”
Earlier this year appeared unable to answer when asked whether it should be legal to fire people because of their sexuality.
In a clip, Pence was asked “Yes or no: do you believe gay and transgender people should be able to be fired from their jobs just for that reason only?”
After an awkward ten-second silence, Pence attempted to stall, responding: “It’s a great privilege to be your Governor.”
Fudging a response, he said: “My position as I expressed in the state of the State address is that we are a state with a constitution, and as you know… that constitution has very strong safeguards for freedom of conscience and freedom of religion.”
Just last month Pence confirmed plans to roll back Barack Obama’s executive protections on LGBT rights, so that “the transgender bathroom issue can be resolved with common sense at the local level”.
He said: “This is such an example of an administration that seems to have… there’s no area of our lives too small for them to want to regulate, no aspect of our constitution too large for them to ignore.
“Donald Trump and I both believe these questions can be resolved with common sense at the local level.”
“These issues are resolved in the state of Indiana whenever they come up, and they should be resolved, for the safety and wellbeing of our children first and foremost, their privacy and rights, and with common sense. Donald Trump and I simply believe all of these issues are best resolved at the state level, by communities.”
He added: “Washington has no business intruding on the operation of our local schools. It’s just one more example of the heavy hand of this administration, and Donald Trump and I will stand by that common-sense people that when it comes to our kids, and the operation of our schools, those decisions should be made at the local level.
“Washington DC has no business imposing its bill and its values on communities around the nation.”
Governor Pence previously suggested that HIV prevention funding be drained in order to fund state-sponsored ‘gay cure’ therapy.
On a 2000 Congressional campaign website, he wrote: “Congress should support the reauthorisation of the [HIV funding] Ryan White Care Act only after completion of an audit to ensure that federal dollars were no longer being given to organisations that celebrate and encourage the types of behaviours that facilitate the spreading of the HIV virus. Resources should be directed toward those institutions which provide assistance to those seeking to change their sexual behaviour.”
Pence has never walked back the claim.
An investigation also 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.”
The Human Rights Campaign recently published a summary of Pence’s stances on LGBT rights.
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 urgedamending the state of Indiana’s constitution to outlaw marriage equality.
On Non-Discrimination Protections
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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.”
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.”
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.
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 behaviours 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.