VP Mike Pence versus the LGBTQ community
Amidst the flurry of news coming from the 2018 Winter Olympics in South Korea, the one that caught our attention was Olympian and out gay athlete Adam Rippon ripping US Vice President Mike Pence a new one.
It made us want to revisit why the LGBTQ people don’t trust Pence. Here are a few points from the top of our head.
Mike Pence and conversion therapy
Pence is mainly known for his endorsement for conversion therapy that would “cure” homosexuality, as was evidenced on his campaign website when he ran for Congress in 2000.
Two items on his website declared his support for efforts to block equal rights for LGBTQ people like marriage and being given minority protections like women and ethnic minorities.
More importantly, he wanted to amend the Ryan White Act to allot resources for institutions that “provide assistance to those seeking to change their sexual behaviour.”
He wanted to divert these funds from those agencies that “celebrate and encourage the types of behaviours that facilitate the spreading of the HIV virus,” referring to LGBTQ groups that provide care to HIV patients.
When he ran for the vice-presidency in 2016, a spokesperson clarified that Pence’s position was that federal funds should “be directed to groups that promoted safe sexual practices.”
(It doesn’t help that a lot of LGBTQ youth still suffer from this treatment presently.)
Mike Pence’s anti-LGBTQ position
During his stint as representative of Indiana, Pence voted against the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (which would outlaw discrimination against sexual orientation) on the grounds of religious freedom.
He said federal hate crimes legislation would “advance a radical social agenda” and voted against the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act.
He also warned that the anti-LGBTQ Federal Marriage Amendment would bring about societal collapse with “the deterioration of marriage and family.”
When he was governor of Indiana, Pence signed a “religious freedom” bill that allowed business owners to refuse service to LGBTQ customers.
He was only forced to sign an amended version after a series of protests and threats of boycotts. The amendment to the law was that it couldn’t be used to discriminate against sexual orientation or gender identity.
Mike Pence’s actions as vice-president
When Pence was selected by Donald Trump as his choice for vice-president, even Trump knew about Pence’s strong anti-LGBTQ stance.
In a profile in the New Yorker, Trump was quoted as saying about Pence when asked about LGBTQ rights: “Don’t ask that guy– he wants to hang them all!”
As vice-president, Pence has symbolized the Trump administration’s targeting of the rights of the LGBTQ people through efforts to protect “religious freedom” by allowing “religious exemptions.”
However, Pence has also advocated as vice-president to remove the healthcare benefits of transgender service members within the US military.
So yeah, we really don’t trust Pence at all.