Mike Pence: A History of Bigotry

Posted on October 6, 2016 by

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Mike Pence, the Indiana governor running as Donald Trump’s vice presidential choice during this 2016 election; who according to many voters and pollsters won the VP debate Tuesday night (11/4/2016.) While Pence spent most of the night dodging questions, distancing himself from Trump’s inflammatory statements regarding women, minorities, and immigrants – essentially lying outright to the American public, the issues concerning Pence’s anti-LGBT+ voting record (legacy) and statements concerning the LGBT+ community seemingly went unnoticed throughout the dialogue and debate. Let’s be fair: Pence has essentially devoted his life as a public servant to repressing and impending the lives of LGBT+ Americans for the past decade.
Pence’s views on homosexuality have been widely documented; arguing  in 2006 to Congress that legalizing same-sex marriage would lead to a “Societal collapse…” that historically “… [was] always brought about following an advent of the deterioration of marriage and family.” In 2015, Pence signed a law that would allow business owners to legally turn away LGBT people on the basis of their “religious freedom.” One of the most troubling aspects of Pence voting history was his extreme opposition to federal funding for low-income people suffering from HIV/AIDS. Pence argued that funding for HIV/AIDS should be “directed toward those institutions which provide assistance to those seeking to change their sexual behavior.” Pence is essentially advocating for conversion therapy in the most inhumane and violent way possible. Conversion therapy is a controversial and illegal practice that seeks to change sexual orientation from gay to straight. The practice according to many LGBT+ advocates is inhumane; that leads to societal bias and discriminatory practices against LGBT+ people. Conversion therapy is banned in five states including California, Oregon, Illinois, Vermont and New Jersey. Pence during his run for Congress in 2000 campaigned on a platform in which he argued against adding LGBT protections. These protections would have established various hate crime protections (laws) surrounding the LGBT+ community. Pence wrote to Congress saying
Congress should oppose any effort to put gay and lesbian relationships on an equal legal status with heterosexual marriage. And Congress should oppose any effort to recognize homosexual’s as a ‘discreet and insular minority’ entitled to the protection of anti-discrimination laws similar to those extended to women and ethnic minorities. (Pence. 2000.)

 

Opposed repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell:

Pence – like many GOP candidates – refused to support the repealing of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. Pence actively placed himself at the forefront as a leading voice for curtailing the policy change. “There’s no question to mainstream homosexuality within active duty military would have an impact on unit cohesion,” saying that the attempt to remove the discriminatory policy from our nation’s military was “some liberal domestic social agenda.” Once same-sex marriage became legalized and a constitutional right in 2014 in the state of Indiana, Pence attempted to block it in which a spokeswoman for Pence said that Pence supported the effort to “defend Indiana’s right to define the institution of marriage for the residents of our state.”

 

This history of bigotry from Mike Pence is astounding; this is his legacy. What is unfortunate is that this history; on a stage such as the vice presidential debate was seemingly never addressed. I couldn’t help but think after viewing this debate of the eminence opportunity that Hillary Clintons vice presidential nominee, Tim Kaine missed – especially amongst undecided, millennial voters – a tremendous opportunity to cement the bigotry of a Pence/Trump ticket. This election has been filled with bigotry and hatred; both Kaine and Pence echoed this sentiment during the debate, agreeing that the both campaigns have been “attack filled.” The common excuse for Trump and his prejudicial views and inflammatory comments has been his ignorance and simply being an unpolished and unapologetic businessman; which among many voters has worked. However, what is Pence excuse? What is the GOP’s excuse for propagating and embodying these hateful sentiments? This was the biggest missed opportunity of Kaine: not being able to show voters that this level of bigotry can’t simply be excused out of ignorance.

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