Republican presidential hopeful Donald Trump surprised absolutely no one when he formally announced Indiana Gov. Mike Pence as his running mate Friday.
Though Trump’s few nods to the LGBT community during his campaign have widely been interpreted as relatively moderate, the presumptive GOP nominee’s choice of Pence, a former Congressman who once implied that the “deterioration of marriage and family” signaled “societal collapse,” suggests that his administration’s stance on queer issues could be more conservative than initially believed.
That, of course, would contradict The New York Times’ description of Trump as “far more accepting” on LGBT issues than other GOP leaders. Famous backers like transgender icon Caitlyn Jenner, who dropped by Trump Tower to use the ladies’ room this spring, and PayPal co-founder Peter Thiel, who is gay, will have to try harder to justify their support. That’s not even taking Pence’s opposition to women’s rights into account, either.
Below, here are 6 reasons why Pence will be terrible for queer people if he and Trump are elected.
Pence has long been an outspoken opponent
of marriage equality, and in floor speeches during his time in Congress, described marriage as being “ordained by God
Of the Supreme Court’s 2015 ruling
that granted same-sex couples the right to tie the knot nationwide, he reportedly said
that he said he was disappointed that SCOTUS had “failed to recognize the historic role of the states in setting marriage policy,” but nonetheless noted that he believed “in the rule of law.”
In 2009, Pence was an outspoken opponent of the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act
, which officially expanded federal hate crime legislation to include violence directed at members of the LGBT community.
At the time, Pence blasted President Barack Obama for using the measure to “advance a radical social agenda,” according to USA Today
, and argued that the law could be used to curb free speech rights.
John Sommers II / Reuters
In May, Pence spoke out against the Obama administration's directive
advising public schools to allow trans students to use the bathroom that best corresponds with their gender identity or risk losing federal funding.
“The federal government has not business getting involved in issues of this nature,” Pence said.
In 2000, Pence suggested that money from a program to help those with HIV/AIDS should be repurposed toward organizations that “provide assistance to those seeking to change their sexual behavior,” BuzzFeed reports
He's also suggested that needle exchange programs
, which can be used to help prevent the spread of HIV, encouraged drug use.
Last year, Pence reluctantly allowed for a short-term needle exchange program
to be put into place in Indiana following a spike in HIV infections
across the state.
"I do not enter into this lightly," he told The Indianapolis Star
. "In response to a public health emergency, I'm prepared to make an exception to my long-standing opposition to needle exchange programs."
Editor’s note: Donald Trump regularly incites political violence and is a serial liar, rampant xenophobe, racist, misogynist and birther who has repeatedly pledged to ban all Muslims ― 1.6 billion members of an entire religion ― from entering the U.S.