Friday, February 09, 2018

Pence Keeps Lying About His Ant-Gay Record

Mike Pence - a typical Christofasist liar.
I have been actively involved in politics for over 25 years and throughout those years one of the things that I have done is track the activities of Christofascist "family values" organizations and anti-gay politicians (almost all of whom are Republican).  One thing I have observed is that no one - with the possible exception of Donald Trump - lies more often or more insidiously than the self-anointed "godly folk" and Republican politicians who prostitute themselves to them.  In Mike Pence, we have a combination of the two even as some suspect Pence is a self-loathing closeted gay himself.  Indeed, Pence reminds me of former Virginia 2nd District Congressman Ed Schrock who was stridently anti-gay in his voting record even though it turned out he was cruising for gay trysts (I had a hand in exposing Schrock's hypocrisy).  I don't suspect Pence of such cruising - he's simply too tightly wound and too racked by his religious brainwashing - but his anti-gay record is even worse than Schrock's and his lying about it is off the charts as noted by Think Progress and a piece in the New York Times from 2016.  First these highlights from Think Progress:  
The feud between Vice President Mike Pence and gay Olympic skater Adam Rippon escalated again Thursday when Pence tweeted directly at the athlete, describing his history of supporting ex-gay conversion therapy as “fake news.” Skier Gus Kenworthy, who came out in 2015 after winning a silver medal at the 2014 Olympics, also qualified for the 2018 Olympics and shared his own concerns about Pence, saying that having him lead the delegation “doesn’t send the right message.” Appearing on Ellen this week, he described Pence as someone who has “directly attacked the LGBT community” and “a bad fit” to lead the delegation. In a recent interview with YouTube’s Tyler Oakley, Rippon joked that he was in a “war” with Pence.  “When he was just a lad from Indiana, he was trying to fund gay conversion therapy…. And me, as a gay man, I’m not going to go out of my way to try to meet Mike Pence,” he said.
Pence’s repeated denials that he supported ex-gay therapy can easily be disproved. His 2000 congressional campaign website clearly said that he would only support funding for HIV treatment through the Ryan White Care Act if money stopped going to organizations that “celebrate and encourage the types of behaviors that facilitate the spreading of the HIV virus.” Instead, he argued, “Resources should be directed toward those institutions which provide assistance to those seeking to change their sexual behavior.” In 2016, Pence spokesperson Marc Lotter insisted that this meant that Pence was actually calling for federal funds to “be directed to groups that promoted safe sexual practices.” That explanation, however, does not account for behaviors that Pence did not want to “celebrate and encourage,” nor does it explain to whom he was referring when he mentioned “those seeking to change their sexual behavior.” Moreover, it’s contradicted by the fact that, in 2002, Pence rejected the validity of condoms in a CNN interview, incorrectly calling them “a very, very poor protection against sexually transmitted diseases” and insisting that “the only truly safe sex…is no sex.”
As a congressman, Pence also offered a “religious freedom” amendment to a 2007 hate crimes bill that would have included protections based on sexual orientation. (Such a bill later became law in 2009). In his statement introducing the amendment, he listed various anti-gay activists who he worried would somehow be silenced by the legislation. Among his examples was “an ad campaign by pro-family groups showing that many former homosexual people had found happiness in a heterosexual lifestyle.”
Pence’s position on HIV funding on that same 2000 campaign website was immediately preceded by statements opposing both marriage equality for same-sex couples and any effort to protect “homosexuals” from discrimination in a similar fashion to women and ethnic minorities. Given Pence’s long history of homophobia both before and after his 2000 campaign, it’s inconceivable that he was referring to anything other than ex-gay therapy.

The New York Times piece contained the following:
Since Gov. Mike Pence was chosen as Donald J. Trump’s running mate in July, he has faced complaints from groups critical of his record on gay and transgender rights, who said he has long been an opponent of the gains made by the L.G.B.T. community in recent years.
Mr. Pence has been particularly dogged by accusations that he is a supporter of “conversion therapy,” the practice of trying to change someone’s sexual orientation or gender identity. It has been discredited by the medical establishment and denounced by gay and transgender groups.
There are frequently religious overtones to conversion therapy, which is often promoted by groups with ties to conservative Christian organizations like Focus on the Family, which says on its website that “homosexual strugglers” can “leave homosexuality” with the help of support groups like Homosexuals Anonymous or by “becoming more like Jesus.” A statement on an archived version of the website for Mr. Pence’s 2000 congressional campaign has been widely interpreted as signaling his support for conversion therapy. After listing his opposition to same-sex marriage and anti-discrimination laws that protect gay people, Mr. Pence’s website takes up the issue of the Ryan White Care Act, which provides federal funding for H.I.V./AIDS patients and was reauthorized by Congress that year.

The Times piece goes on to look at the ugly and fraudulent history of conversion therapy which has been widely used by Christofascists to claim that gays can "change" and that no non-discrimination protections are needed. 

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