From conversion therapy to HIV to DADT to marriage, Donald Trump’s likely running mate Mike Pence has long opposed LGBT equality.
Donald Trump, who told the New York Post that rather than asking himself if his vice presidential choice would make a good President that â€œthe most important thing is chemistry,â€ is expected to make his announcement tomorrow at 11 AM EDT in Manhattan.
One neednâ€™t look further than these ten examples of Penceâ€™s record on the LGBT community for evidence:
1. His 2000 congressional campaign platform favored conversion therapy rather than â€œneedyâ€ HIV treatment.
He proposed that Congress should audit their federal spending to ensure that â€œfederal dollars were no longer being given to organizations that celebrate and encourage the types of behaviors that facilitate the spreading of the HIV virus,” his website read. Â “Resources should be directed toward those institutions which provide assistance to those seeking to change their sexual behavior.”
2. That same platform cautioned that LGBT military personnel weakened the military.
â€œHomosexuality is incompatible with military service because the presence of homosexuals in the ranks weakens unit cohesion,â€ his platform read.
An archived version of the website is still available here.
3. He labeled the potential repeal of â€œDonâ€™t Ask, Donâ€™t Tellâ€ as â€œa backdrop for social experimentation.â€
Pence told CNN, â€œI don’t believe the time has come to repeal Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. I really believe our soldiers that are at the tip of the spear know that. We ought to put their interests and the interests of our national security first.”
4. He voted against same-sex marriage and against prohibiting anti-LGBT discrimination while in the House.
As a GOP Congressman, Pence voted in favor of legislation defining marriage as only between a man and a woman, and against legislation prohibiting workplace discrimination based on sexual orientation. He was quoted by The Atlantic as saying that prohibiting workplace discrimination â€œwages war on freedom of religion in the workplace.”
5. Pence supported the Defense of Marriage ActÂ (DOMA).
Even after the section of DOMA barring legally married same-sex couples from having their marriages recognized by the federal government was ruled unconstitutional, PenceÂ said, “I believe marriage is the union between a man and a woman and is a unique institution worth defending in our state and nation. For thousands of years, marriage has served as the glue that holds families and societies together.”
6. He subsequently supported HJR-6, an amendment to Indianaâ€™s constitution banning same-sex marriage.
Penceâ€™s spokeswoman said that Pence â€œsupported the effort to â€˜defend Indianaâ€™s right to define the institution of marriage for the residents of our state.â€™â€ Same-sex marriage was already prohibited in a state statute at the time. He also supported Indiana Attorney General Greg Zoellerâ€™s effort to appeal the ruling legalizing same-sex marriage in Indiana.
7. He signed an open letter drafted by the Family Research Council that ran in Politico and the Washington Examiner that supported organizations opposed to same-sex marriage.
â€œWe, the undersigned, stand in solidarityâ€¦ [with] pro-family organizations that are working to protect and promote natural marriage and family,â€ the letter read. â€œWe support the vigorous but responsible exercise of the First Amendment rights of free speech and religious liberty that are the birthright of all Americans.â€
8. Pence was â€œdisappointedâ€ by the Supreme Courtâ€™s decision on nationwide marriage equality.
â€œLike many Hoosiers,â€ he said, â€œI believe marriage is the union between one man and one woman, and I am disappointed that the Supreme Court failed to recognize the historic role of the states in setting marriage policy in this country.â€
9. He opposed guidance from the Department of Education regarding transgender students.
â€œThe federal government has no business getting involved in issues of this nature,â€ he said.
But perhaps most notoriouslyâ€¦
â€” Governor Mike Pence (@GovPenceIN) March 26, 2015
10. In 2015, Pence signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) into law, giving businesses a â€œlicense to discriminateâ€ against the LGBT community.
When asked if businesses should be able to discriminate against the LGBT community, Pence did have little to say:
The announcement will come on the same day that Governor Mike Pence, up for re-election and holding a 40% approval rating, must withdrawal from the gubernatorial race under Indiana law if selected. LGBT and progressive organizations have already begun to issue statements denouncing Pence as Trumpâ€™s running mate.
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MN Police Officer Sentenced 3.5 Years for Death of George Floyd
Former Minneapolis police officer J. Alexander Keung has been sentenced to 3.5 years in prison for aiding and abetting manslaughter in the death of Black city resident George Floyd.
Keung, age 29, had accepted a plea deal in order to avoid an additional charge of aiding and abetting second-degree murder. His guilty plea acknowledged that the restraining holds used by police on Floyd were excessive and likely to cause serious harm.
Video of Floyd’s May 25, 2020 murder at the hands of city police captured footage of Keung kneeling on Floyd’s back while another officer knelt of the man’s neck. for over nine minutes, officers applied pressure to Floyd while he laid face down in the street, crying and telling officers that he couldn’t breathe while also calling out for his mother.
Video of Floyd’s murder sparked international outrage and inspired protests against institutional racism and police brutality.
Keung is the fourth and final police officer to receive prison time for his role in Floyd’s death. He will serve his new sentence and a federal sentence for Floyd’s death concurrently, serving a total of about 2 1/2 years for the killing.
Virginia Republican Files Bill Defining a Fertilized Egg as a Human
Virginia State Delegate Marie March (R) has pre-filed House Bill 1395, a law that would define life as beginning at fertilization.
“Life begins at conception and each person is accorded the same rights and protections guaranteed to all persons by the Constitution of the United States,” the proposed bill states.
The proposed bill would effectively outlaw all abortions in the state and even endanger the use of Plan B (aka. “The morning-after pill”), a medication that prevents fertilized egg cells from attaching to a woman’s uterine wall.
The bill could also effectively criminalize in vitro fertilization, a method of inducing pregnancy that uses fertilized eggs and discards any unused ones.
Even though Republicans control the state’s House of Delegates, it’s unclear if the bill would have any chance of passing the state’s Democratic-led Senate. The legislature won’t reconvene until January 11, 2023.
Virginia currently allows a woman to get an abortion within roughly 26 weeks of pregnancy. Gov. Glenn Youngkin (R) has proposed passing a law that would reduce that window to 15 weeks, a period of time in which most women may not even realize they’re pregnant.
In response to March’s bill the Virginia Reproductive Equity Alliance said in a statement, “In the wake of the overturning of Roe v. Wade, and despite the vast majority of Virginians who oppose it, Virginia’s anti-abortion elected officials keep proving there are no limits to their extremism and true intentions to ban abortion for all Virginians.”
Georgia GOP Says Its Voting Restrictions “Backfired” & Helped Dems Win Senate Seat
When two Republicans lost Georgia’s special runoff senate elections in January 2021, state Republicans in the General Assembly re-wrote voting laws to restrict absentee ballots and give voters fewer days to vote in future runoff elections.
However, after Republicans lost yet another runoff election for Georgia’s Senate seat — with Herschel Walker losing to his Democratic competitor, Rev. Raphael Warnock, earlier this month — state Republicans want to re-re-write the rules, hopeful of a more favorable outcome.
Georgia’s Secretary of State Brad Raffensperger (R), the official who oversees the state’s voting procedures, said he plans on giving three proposals to lawmakers when they return to the General Assembly in January.
“[The proposals] include forcing large counties to open more early-voting locations (in an attempt to reduce the hours-long lines some voters waited in) … lowering the threshold candidates must achieve to avoid a runoff from 50 percent to 45 percent; and instituting a ranked-choice instant-runoff system that would not require voters to come back to the polls again after the general election,” The New York Times reported.
To be clear, it’s unclear whether these changes would’ve helped Walker win. But they stand in contrast to the changes state Republicans made to voting laws following their failed January 2021 Senate runoff ambitions.
The changes after that time severely restricted the types of people eligible to receive an absentee ballot. While 24 percent of the January 2021 vote came via mail-in absentee ballots, the rule changes resulted in 5 percent of mail-in votes coming in for the January 2022 runoff.
Republicans also lowered the number of in-person early voting days to five (though the rule change allowed counties to add extra days.) The Times found that 28 of Georgia’s 159 counties opted to add extra in-person early voting days — 17 of the counties that did largely backed Warnock while 11 backed his challenger.
Before the recent run-off election, Raffensperger also tried to enforce a state law forbidding in-person early voting on the Saturday after Thanksgiving. However, Warnock successfully sued to prevent the law from going into effect.
Overall, the changes may have “backfired,” Republicans told The Times, actually encouraging Democratic voters to come out in greater numbers.
While Republicans point to the large turnout of runoff voters as “proof” that their changes didn’t discourage voting, Warnock’s campaign criticized the changes, saying that such restrictions shouldn’t make it harder for people to vote in the first place.
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