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With Pence Pick, Trump Doubles Down on Anti-LGBTQ Agenda
2016-07-15

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Presumptive Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump made it official July 15 as he announced Indiana Gov. Mike Pence as his running mate.

"I am pleased to announce that I have chosen Governor Mike Pence as my Vice Presidential running mate," Trump tweeted. Trump held a series of auditions with Pence and other top contenders such as New Jersey Gov. Chris Christie and well-known figure Newt Gingrich.

Pence is known for his conservative ideology—something pro-LGBTQ groups noted in their press releases.

Human Rights Campaign (HRC) President Chad Griffin said, "Donald Trump just doubled down on his agenda of hate and discrimination by choosing the notoriously anti-LGBTQ Mike Pence for his ticket. Mike Pence has never left any question about his animus toward LGBTQ people, from peddling a hateful and damaging 'right to discriminate bill' in Indiana last year, to his longstanding opposition to marriage equality—positions shared by Donald Trump.

"Hillary Clinton has laid out the most ambitious agenda for LGBTQ equality that our nation has ever seen from a presidential candidate. She will not only protect the gains we have made over the last eight years, but fight for full federal equality day in and day out in the White House."

HRC also said that "Pence became a national disgrace in 2015, for his 'license to discriminate' bill that could have allowed businesses to deny service to LGBTQ people—and subsequently defending the bill over an outcry from the business community and a majority of Hoosier voters. In a now notorious interview with ABC last year, Pence refused to answer eight separate times when asked whether businesses should be able to discriminate against LGBTQ people."

National LGBTQ Task Force Action Fund Deputy Executive Director Russell Roybal said in a separate release, "In selecting Mike Pence, Donald Trump has picked a vice-presidential running mate who is best-known for a law that was so extremely anti-LGBTQ that businesses, organizations and major events threatened to flee Indiana in droves. One can only imagine what sort of impact this type of person might have on the lives of LGBTQ people across the country, and on our nation's economy and future."

Equality Forum Executive Forum Malcolm has also weighed in, saying, "The selection of anti-gay crusader Gov. Mike Pence, along with the homophobic Republican party platform and a deafening silence on the LGBT Equality Act completes a trifecta of hate from Donald Trump on LGBT rights. Although Trump claims he's a 'friend' of the LGBT community, his rhetoric is in direct contrast to his actions which are deeply troubling and sends chills down the backs of 20 million LGBT Americans and to those who believe in civil rights for all citizens."

Brian C. Johnson, the executive director of Equality Illinois, also criticized the selection of Pence, saying, "In March 2015, we in Illinois watched in shock as Gov. Pence signed into law a bill that established discrimination against LGBT Hoosiers as statewide policy. So not only do Hoosiers legally feel the sting of prejudice and intolerance due to the actions of Gov. Pence, but Illinoisans who are protected under Illinois state law from discrimination could be refused service and be discriminated against as soon as they cross the state line, which they must do frequently for travel and work.

"With Gov. Pence, the man whom Donald Trump believes should be one heartbeat away from the Oval Office, Trump chose a man who has made a career out of advocating for and implementing right-wing policies that are anti-LGBT, anti-women, anti-immigrant and anti-low income people."

Pence was running for re-election as governor; however, Indiana law prevents him from seeking two offices at once.

Pence, 57, was born in Columbus, Indiana. He graduated from Hanover College with a B.A. in history and went to law school at Indiana University. Reportedly, Pence is a favorite of conservative brothers Charles and David Koch.

From Rress Releases:

WASHINGTON — The Human Rights Campaign ( HRC ) today blasted Donald Trump for doubling down on his anti-equality agenda by choosing as his running mate Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, who has made virulent anti-LGBTQ activism a cornerstone of his political career.

"Donald Trump just doubled down on his agenda of hate and discrimination by choosing the notoriously anti-LGBTQ Mike Pence for his ticket," said HRC President Chad Griffin. "Mike Pence has never left any question about his animus toward LGBTQ people, from peddling a hateful and damaging 'right to discriminate bill' in Indiana last year, to his longstanding opposition to marriage equality — positions shared by Donald Trump."

Griffin Continued: "Hillary Clinton has laid out the most ambitious agenda for LGBTQ equality that our nation has ever seen from a presidential candidate. She will not only protect the gains we have made over the last eight years, but fight for full federal equality day in and day out in the White House."

Pence became a national disgrace in 2015, for his "license to discriminate" bill that could have allowed businesses to deny service to LGBTQ people — and subsequently defending the bill over an outcry from the business community and a majority of Hoosier voters. In a now notorious interview with ABC last year, Pence refused to answer eight separate times when asked whether businesses should be able to discriminate against LGBTQ people.

Pence's discriminatory bill had enormous consequences for the business and economic health of Indiana after a flood of companies spoke out against his bill. Indianapolis's nonprofit tourism agency estimated that in their city alone, Pence's anti-LGBTQ bill cost up to 12 conventions and $60 million in lost revenue. Polling conducted by HRC after the 2015 fight found that 75 percent of Hoosiers said the debate was bad for the state's economy and 70 percent of those surveyed said they opposed to the law.

Hoosiers continue to have strongly negative feelings toward Pence. In a recent poll, only 36 percent said that Pence deserved re-election, and they gave their governor a net negative job disapproval rating. Only 40 percent approved of his job performance and 42 percent disapproved.

Pence also opposes marriage equality and Department of Education guidelines supporting transgender students. When serving in Congress, he voted against the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" and the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, calling it a "radical social agenda."

In recent weeks, Trump has reaffirmed his opposition to transgender equality, appeared alongside Tony Perkins — leader of SPLC-designated hate group the Family Research Council — and delusionally bragged about fictional support from the LGBTQ community in the wake of the Pulse nightclub shooting in Orlando. His false claims about his own support are belied by his own long record of opposing LGBTQ equality.

Here's a snapshot of where the two align in their pursuit of undermining LGBTQ equality:

On Marriage Equality

— Trump: Vowed to roll back nationwide marriage equality by appointing justices to the Supreme Court who would reverse nationwide marriage equality.

— Pence: Pence opposed the Supreme Court's nationwide marriage equality ruling, saying, "Like many Hoosiers, I believe marriage is the union between one man and one woman…" After the Defense of Marriage Act ( DOMA ), which barred legally married same-sex couple from having their marriages recognized by the federal government, was ruled unconstitutional, he urged amending the state of Indiana's constitution to outlaw marriage equality.

On Non-Discrimination Protections

— Trump: Trump has committed to signing the so-called "First Amendment Defense Act," a bill to enable taxpayer-funded discrimination against LGBTQ people in the federal government. Trump said at the Iowa Faith and Family Coalition, his priority as President would be to "preserve and protect our religious liberty."

— Pence: While in Congress, Pence voted against the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. He opposed the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell," by saying it would turn the military into "a backdrop for social experimentation." He voted against the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, calling it a "radical social agenda." As governor, his "right to discriminate" bill could have allowed businesses to discriminate and deny service to LGBTQ people because of who they are or whom they love.

On Transgender Equality

— Trump: When asked about laws like North Carolina's deeply discriminatory HB2, Trump said he supported the law, saying, "I'm going with the state. The state, they know what's going on, they see what's happening and generally speaking I'm with the state on things like this. I've spoken with your governor, I've spoken with a lot of people and I'm going with the state." Trump previously told Sean Hannity that when it comes to laws like North Carolina's HB2, Trump said he would "leave it up to the states."

— Pence: Opposed guidance from the Department of Education that clarifies that transgender students have a right under Title IX of the Education Amendments of 1972 to access restrooms consistent with their gender identity, saying, "The federal government has no business getting involved in issues of this nature."

Victory Fund response

Washington, DC — Today, Victory Fund President & CEO Aisha C. Moodie-Mills released the following statement in response to confirmed reports that presumptive Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump has selected Governor Mike Pence to be his running mate:

"Donald Trump has launched indefensible attacks against women, immigrants, Muslims, and so many others, and today he opened a new offensive against LGBT people with his selection of Mike Pence as his running mate. Governor Pence has made a career out of singling out LGBT people for discrimination: supporting efforts to strip employment protections, deny recognition of our relationships, and prohibit courageous LGBT soldiers from serving openly in the military. Just last year, he signed legislation that gave restaurants, stores and other businesses permission to refuse service to LGBT people, inflicting heavy damage on his state's economy and its workers.

"His nomination is a rallying cry for the LGBT community and our allies across the nation. There can be no more illusions about the Republican presidential ticket's position on our equality. While we hope never to see a Trump-Pence administration, now more than ever our community must fight to elect LGBT candidates who can be our voice and defeat anti-LGBT legislation that may come our way in the future

Task Force response

Washington DC, July 14, 2016 —The National LGBTQ Task Force Action Fund is condemning Republican presidential candidate Donald Trump's selection of Governor Mike Pence of Indiana as his vice presidential running mate.

"In selecting Mike Pence, Donald Trump has picked a vice-presidential running mate who is best-known for a law that was so extremely anti-LGBTQ that businesses, organizations and major events threatened to flee Indiana in droves. One can only imagine what sort of impact this type of person might have on the lives of LGBTQ people across the country, and on our nation's economy and future," said Russell Roybal, Deputy Executive Director, National LGBTQ Task Force Action Fund.

NEA president comments on Donald Trump's choice for vice president

WASHINGTON — NEA President Lily Eskelsen Garcia today provided the following statement regarding Donald Trump's selection of Gov. Mike Pence, R-Indiana, as his vice presidential running mate:

"Donald Trump had a choice to make with his pick for running mate: to unite rather than divide our country. Unfortunately, Trump's pick of Indiana Gov. Mike Pence as his running mate indicates that he is bent on tearing us apart with divisive rhetoric, dangerous ideas, and bad choices.

"A darling of the extreme Republicans and the Tea Party, Mike Pence has been terrible for Indiana's students, families and public schools. As an unpopular and divisive governor, he pushed for draconian cuts to K-12 public schools at the same time that he diverted funds via private vouchers schemes from public to private schools and significantly expanded the number of corporate-run, unaccountable charter schools. He recklessly led the charge to discriminate against LGBT individuals for which he received significant pushback from the business community. And as a member of Congress, Pence supported U.S. Rep. Paul Ryan's harmful budget of 2012 in which Ryan attempted to balance the budget on the backs of America's most vulnerable — kids, students and seniors — while failing to demand corporations and the rich to pay their fair share.

"Gov. Pence and Donald Trump do not share the same values educators, students and working families want and expect in the White House. At a time when Americans are looking for a president who can bring people together, Gov. Pence and Donald Trump would take the country in the wrong direction. Trump's choice of Gov. Pence is further evidence that he is temperamentally unfit to make the right choices and tough decisions to run America."

Educators track the voting records of members of Congress and their overall support for public education, students and educators. During eight of the 12 years that Gov. Pence served in the U.S. House of Representatives, he earned an F on the official National Education Association legislative report card.


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