In the spotlight we have Republican Nominee Donald Trump’s pick for Vice President, Gov. Mike Pence, as we assess his stance on transgender and LGBT issues.
Michael Richard Pence was born on June 7, 1959. Originally an attorney, he would serve in the United States House of Representatives from 2001 to 2013. He would become the 50th Governor of Indiana in 2013 and he is now the Republican nominee for Vice President of the United States.
Pence has been no stranger to controversy when it comes to LGBT issues. He is most known for signing the Religious Freedom Restoration Act in March 2015. This allowed businesses to deny services to gay and transgender individuals for religious reasons in the State of Indiana. In April 2015, Pence would backtrack on the law by signing a revised version that would not allow discrimination based on sexual orientation and gender identity.
“I will not support any bill that diminishes the religious freedom of Hoosiers or that interferes with the Constitutional rights of our citizens to live out their beliefs in worship, service or work.” – Governor Mike Pence
In his January 2015 state address he doubled down on his stance stating “But, I am aware there is at least one more issue getting attention: whether to extend full civil rights protections to Hoosiers on the basis of sexual orientation and gender identity. Over the past few months, I have studied this issue carefully, and listened respectfully to people across this state. I have met with Hoosiers on every side of this debate, from pastors to LGBT activists to college presidents to business leaders.” He went on to state, “I will not support any bill that diminishes the religious freedom of Hoosiers or that interferes with the Constitutional rights of our citizens to live out their beliefs in worship, service or work.”
Regarding the Obama administrations recent guidelines on transgender access to restrooms and locker rooms, Pence said, “the federal government has no business getting involved in issues of this nature.”
Pence also voted against ENDA, The Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which would have federally protected transgender citizens from discrimination in the workplace. With regards to his vote, Pence stated that it “wages war on freedom of religion in the workplace.”
Pence was also against the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, claiming he did not want to se the military become “a backdrop for social experimentation.” In 2003, Pence co-sponsored an amendment that would have prohibited same-sex marriage as a member of the House of Representatives.
Pence has earned a reputation as a theocrat as he is known to be on the side of “religious freedom” when it comes to LGBT matters. In February 2015, LGBT rights group Freedom Indiana asked Pence if he believed LGBT should be allowed to be fired from their jobs simply for being who they are. In his response he seems to dance around the issue, though he did eventually say that “no one” should be discriminated against.
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So in the case of Pence would a person with an anti-LGBT agenda be a heartbeat from the Presidency of the United States should Donald Trump be elected? Well he has never directly attacked the LGBT community. What we can tell is that in the case of Pence, religion always “trumps” LGBT.