Democratic Veep Hopeful Notes Gov. Pence Once Said Same-Sex Marriage Would Lead to 'Societal Collapse'
Saying the country needs to go "forward, not back" on LGBT rights to achieve "a more perfect union," Democratic vice presidential nominee and Virginia U.S. Sen. Tim Kaine slammed GOP adversary Mike Pence on Wednesday for signing legislation similar to North Carolina's House Bill 2 as governor of Indiana.
Speaking at a rally in Greensboro, Kaine also noted that as a congressman in 2006, during a speech in support of a proposed federal constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, Pence said "the deterioration of marriage and family" would lead to "societal collapse."
"That's just not right, folks, just not right," Kaine said.
HB2, which prohibits cities like Greensboro from protecting LGBT people against discrimination and restricts restroom access for transgender people, has cost North Carolina hundreds of millions of dollars, including the loss of a major PayPal expansion, as well as the cancellation of several marquee events including the 2017 NBA All-Star Game.
Indiana experienced similar backlash in the wake of Pence's decision to sign the Religious Freedom Restoration Act of 2015, prompting the Legislature to pass an emergency fix saying the law could not be used to discriminate against LGBT people.
"Now, I know in North Carolina, there's been some pain over this issue," Kaine said. "They snuck through in the legislature this HB2, and they tried to introduce it kind of in the dead of night. 'Can we do an end run and make it happen really fast, and maybe people won't notice and maybe people won't complain?' You all have stood up in a major way and you've said this is not who we are. This is not who North Carolina is. These are not our values. And that's one of the reasons why North Carolina is so intensely focused on this race."
"The vice presidential nominee on the Republican side, Mike Pence, did something like the North Carolina bill," Kaine added. "Found that immediately, discriminating against LGBT people immediately companies started to pull out. You're seeing those announcements in North Carolina too, whether it's the All-Star game or PayPal. Same thing happened in Indiana and he had to kind of do a U-turn."
As governor of Virginia, Kaine signed an executive order protecting LGBT state employees against discrimination. He's also an original sponsor of the Equality Act, the federal law that would add LGBT people to the Civil Rights Act, and he received a score of 90 out of 100 on the Human Rights Campaign's most recent Congressional Scorecard.
"We've just been making progress and overcoming our imperfections and becoming that more perfect union, and one of the most recent battles that's been really powerful is the battle for LGBT equality," Kaine told the crowd in Greensboro. "It's just been one more wall that we had to knock down to be all we can be."
Also speaking at the rally was North Carolina Attorney General and Democratic gubernatorial candidate Roy Cooper, who pledged to repeal HB2. Republican incumbent Gov. Pat McCrory, who's running against Cooper for re-election and has been an ardent defender of HB2, responded to Kaine and Cooper by hypocritically accusing them of using trans restroom access as a political wedge.
"It's amazing that all Roy Cooper and Tim Kaine want to talk about is bathrooms," McCrory spokesman Ricky Diaz said in a statement. "They continue to spew the same false, negative talking points because they want North Carolina to fail to boost their election prospects."
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