The LGBT Left keeps insisting Vice President Mike Pence is not only “anti-LGBT” but a direct danger to LGBT rights in America. This idea gained traction again when U.S. Olympic figure skater Adam Rippon announced he’d turn down the vice president’s invitation for a meeting due to Pence’s “anti-LGBT” views.
“You mean Mike Pence, the same Mike Pence that funded gay conversion therapy?” Rippon said. “I would absolutely not go out of my way to meet somebody who I felt has gone out of their way to not only show that they aren’t a friend of a gay person but that they think that they’re sick.” He concluded, “Mike Pence doesn’t stand for anything that I really believe in.”
Pink News, a major LGBT news organization, reported that openly gay Olympic athlete Gus Kenworthy lamented Pence’s presence at the Winter Olympics to Ellen DeGeneres.
“So many people have paved the way, but then to have someone leading the delegation that’s directly attacked the LGBT community, and [is part of] a cabinet in general that stands against us and has tried to do things to set us back—it just seems like a bad fit, and I feel like the Olympics is all about inclusion and people coming together, and it seems like it’s not really doing that,” Kenworthy said.
The same news source complained that Pence attacked Rippon in response. Pence’s Press Secretary said Rippon’s characterization of Pence “has no basis in fact. Despite these misinformed claims, the vice president will be enthusiastically supporting all the US athletes competing.” Pink News goes on to assert, “However, Pence’s support for anti-LGBT laws and gay cure therapy is a matter of public record.”
.@Adaripp I want you to know we are FOR YOU. Don’t let fake news distract you. I am proud of you and ALL OF OUR GREAT athletes and my only hope for you and all of #TeamUSA is to bring home the gold. Go get ‘em!
— Vice President Mike Pence (@VP) February 8, 2018
Does Mike Pence Really Hate Gay People?
That Pence supports “gay cure therapy” has become a matter of tribal fact among LGBT Americans. The accusation originates from Pence’s 2000 run for Congress. His website then 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.”
Although LGBT activists have interpreted this as support for gay conversion therapy, there is no record of Pence ever supporting this practice. It is no small matter that “sexual behavior” and “sexuality” are distinct concepts. “Seeking to change their sexual behavior” in this context is far more likely to indicate a change in the actual behavior that contributes to the spread of HIV. Pence’s accusers just assume he’s referencing gay men, which he did not say.
All HIV/AIDS advocacy at the time emphasized that everyone engaging in unprotected sex was at risk for HIV infection. The Ryan White Care Act assisted all people with HIV who qualified for its financial assistance. As a Christian conservative, Pence’s preference for directing tax dollars towards organizations promoting sexual responsibility to reduce the spread of HIV is not particularly controversial.
Time magazine catalogued Pence’s various statements and positions on LGBT issues throughout the years. He opposed same-sex marriage in 2006, as did President Obama and Hillary Clinton, stating in part, “societal collapse was always brought about following an advent of the deterioration of marriage and family.”
Pence also stated, “And let me say emphatically that this debate today is not about discrimination. I believe that if someone chooses another life-style than I have chosen, that that is their right in a free society. But tolerance does not require that we permit our courts to redefine an institution upon which our society depends.” Here the LGBT lobby judges him for implying that being gay is a choice.
Pence Went Out of His Way to Create LGBT Preferences
Naturally the “anti-LGBT” laws Pence is accused of supporting have been religious freedom bills. In reality, Pence went out of his way to modify a religious freedom bill in 2015 as governor of Indiana to ensure no discrimination towards gay people. Many on the Right felt betrayed.
Politico reported an evangelical supporter lamenting, “Pence really destroyed his reputation among social conservatives in Indiana over his fecklessness on the religious freedom bill.” Under heavy pressure from LGBT groups, Pence chose to sign revisions to the law that did not allow religious individuals to cite their faith in lawsuits alleging discrimination against LGBT customers, and even provides preferential legal consideration to LGBT citizens while not offering the same to religious citizens.
In 2007 Pence opposed the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which gave legal privileges to LGBT people as employees. Speaking on the House floor he stated, “Now let me be clear, I do not condone discrimination against people for any reason whatsoever.” He went on to explain that he opposed the bill because it would essentially create a constitutional conflict with religious freedom.
Pence opposed repealing the Clinton-era “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy on LGBT people in the military because, he said, the military should not be used for social experiments. He also opposed President Obama’s directive on transgender bathrooms in 2016 stating, “Policies regarding the security and privacy of students in our schools should be in the hands of Hoosier parents and local schools, not bureaucrats in Washington, DC. The federal government has no business getting involved in issues of this nature. I am confident that parents, teachers and administrators will continue to resolve these matters without federal mandates and in a manner that reflects the common sense and compassion of our state.”
These Are Basic Limited-Government Positions
Essentially, it seems Pence’s politics in this regard revolves around limiting the influence of the federal government, limiting the courts from making law, protecting freedom of religion for all Americans, and opposing the use of federal funds for progressive policies. The Left, in general, has the annoying habit of viewing opposition to progressive identity politics as hostility or hatred towards the identity group they affect. In no way is it apparent Pence holds any animosity towards gay people. If he does, he certainly does not show it in public or allow it to influence his views on liberty for all Americans.
GLAAD, one of the oldest and largest LGBT advocacy groups, catalogued a list of Pence’s “anti-LGBT” actions that includes the debunked claim the Centers for Disease Control was instructed to remove several sensitive words, including “transgender,” from its official documents. The list states absurd claims such as, “The Trump Administration signs the GOP tax bill, which targets low-income and LGBTQ communities, into law,” and “The Trump Administration leaves the LGBTQ community and people of color out of the official World AIDS Day Proclamation.”
Basically, it appears that the LGBT Left’s standard for “anti-LGBT” is either opposing their political agenda items or failing to embrace them enough.
Sadly, as is demonstrated with both athletes’ statements and the LGBT media’s celebration of them, truth and context matter very little to how they feel about Pence. Despite his moderate and uncontroversial views, and his open advocacy for freedom of expression and the proper use of legal processes, the LGBT Left is too dedicated to their hatred to be reasoned with. It has simply become part of their cultural language to declare Pence a “homophobe” who wishes to take LGBT rights away.
It seems absurd to assert a man so riddled with hatred for gay people would be interested in meeting an openly gay Olympic athlete. An athlete, coincidentally, too marinated in prejudice to take the time to get to know who Pence really is or what he actually believes.