sourced from: The Advocate
There was always the assumption that one day Indiana Governor Mike Pence would run for President. I always thought that odd, because he wasn’t well-known outside Indiana, and I got the impression that he wasn’t well-liked inside the state. I figured he’d have to do something big, take a stand, make a point, and then he’d get national recognition and a shot at the White House … one day.
Sadly, his big move was to sign into law Indiana’s Religious Freedom Restoration Act which basically said business owners could discriminate against anyone of their choosing as long as they used the “deeply held religious conviction” excuse. And most folks rightly believed that this law meant anti-LGBT discrimination, no matter how many times Pence shouted “Hoosiers don’t discriminate.”
And no matter how many times he said he would let the law stand, and how many times he said he personally abhorred discrimination, this was Baby Jeebus Discrimination so it had to stand … until it didn’t.
And so I kept returning to Mike Pence saying he “abhors discrimination.” And how he said if he was eating in a restaurant that refused to serve a gay person, he’d up and leave and I got to thinking, “Really, Mike?
As a member of Congress for six terms, from 2001 to 2013, Mike Pence earned a ‘Zero’ from the Human Rights Campaign [HRC]; that means that during his twelve years in Congress he didn’t support one single pro-LGBT bill and did not oppose one single anti-LGBT bill. Sounds like discrimination to me.
Mike Pence is also firmly entrenched in the anti-marriage equality camp. The website for his 2000 congressional campaign said this:
“Congress should oppose any effort to put gay and lesbian relationships on an equal legal status with heterosexual marriage.”
Now, folks can say that maybe he’s evolved; I mean, Obama did it right? But, in 2006, he cosponsored and voted for an amendment to the U.S. Constitution to define marriage as the union of a man and a woman. Mike Pence continues to speak out absent marriage equality while saying he abhors discrimination, as he did at the Conservative Political Action Conference in 2008:
“Marriage was ordained by God and instituted in law. It is the glue of the American family and the safest harbor to raise children. Conservatives must defend traditional marriage by passing the Federal Marriage Amendment.”
In 2013, when the U.S. Supreme Court gutted the Defense of Marriage Act [DOMA], Mike Pence said he was disappointed by the decision; he began pushing for Indiana to amend its own constitution to ban same-sex marriage even though the state already had a statutory ban on same-sex marriage. He wanted it written into the state Constitution that The Gays must never be allowed to get married.
Mike Pence, who “abhors discrimination”, is also against protecting LGBT employees. In 2007, as a member of the U.S. House, he voted against the Employment Non-Discrimination Act because he felt that:
“By extending the reach of federal law to cover sexual orientation, employment discrimination protections, in effect, can wage war on the free exercise of religion in the workplace. Some examples, under ENDA, would mean employees around the country who possess religious beliefs that are opposed to homosexual behavior would be forced, in effect, to lay down their rights and convictions at the door. For example, if an employee keeps a Bible in his or her cubicle, if an employee displays a Bible verse on their desk, that employee could be claimed by a homosexual colleague to be creating a hostile work environment because the homosexual employee objects to passages in the Bible relating to homosexuality.”
Mike Pence does not support LGBT-inclusive hate-crimes legislation either. In fact, he opposed the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act of 2009 — passed by Congress and signed into law by President Obama. Although he said he objected especially to the measure being attached to a defense spending bill, he didn’t like the hate-crimes bill itself:
“The president has used his position as commander in chief to advance a radical social agenda, when he should have used it to advance legislation that would unequivocally support our troops.”
By the way, it’s no surprise that Mike Pence has never supported lesbian, gay, and bisexual troops, and, in fact, opposed the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell [DADT]:
“There is no question that to mainstream homosexuality within the active duty military would have an impact on unit cohesion, an impact on readiness.”
He said that repealing DADT was akin to “using the American military, our armed forces, to advance a liberal social agenda.”
Mike Pence won't say whether same-sex couples should raise children, and when asked that specific question in 2012, he refused to answer. But, back in 2004, while arguing on the House floor in favor of a federal constitutional ban on same-sex marriage, Pence seemed to suggest that he considers straight parents superior at raising children:
"Marriage is the glue of the family and the safest harbor for children."
Mike Pence’s stand on funding for HIV services also reeks of an antigay bias. His 2000 website stated:
“Congress should support the reauthorization of the Ryan White Care Act only after completion of an audit to ensure that federal dollars were no longer being given to organizations that celebrate and encourage the types of behaviors 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 behavior.”
Though he didn’t say it, it kinda sounds like Pence is in favor of ex-gay therapy to change a person’s sexual behavior. And he has long opposed needle-exchange programs to help prevent the spread of the virus among injection-drug users, but after one Indiana county saw a spike in HIV cases among intravenous drug users, Mike Pence temporarily changed his stance, and he allowed for a short-term, state-supervised needle-exchange program for that single county.
Mike Pence says he abhors discrimination, but his words are meaningless when his actions clearly state the opposite. And if we can trust his deeds as governor of one state, how can we trust him as president of all fifty?