Documents have uncovered that US Vice President Mike Pence argued that homosexuality “was a choice” during his campiagn in the early 1990s against local efforts in Indiana to ban discrimination based on sexual orientation.
Additionally, Pence opposed the repeal of the US military’s controversial ‘Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell’ in 2010, saying that he did not want to see the military become ‘a backdrop for social experimentation’.
It’s safe to say that Pence has and never will be the flavour of the month in the LGBT+ community, but scrutiny of his track record on LGBT+ issues intensified when White House deputy press secretary Judd Deere, claimed that Pence is not anti-gay because he met with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar.
CNN’s KFile unearthed local newspaper reports from the 1990s which provide insight into Pence’s early politics and views in opposition of LGBT+ rights.
Mike Pence argued in the 1990s that, unlike protections for African Americans, LGBT+ people “choose or learn” to be gay and was part of a “grassroots-generated movement for recognition of homosexual rights” nationwide.
“Once you identify homosexuals as a minority, then by definition they would need to be afforded constitutional protection,” Pence added. “Up to this point, our legal tradition in America has drawn a line over those things. I do not choose whether I am a black American… the great vast majority of the psychological community says homosexuality at a very minimum is a choice by the individual, and at the maximum, is a learned behaviour.”
It is unclear which psychological communities Pence was referring to as by the 1990s te vast majority of psychological organisations had discovered data which did not support the opinion that homosexuality was a choice with studies at the time indicating that homosexuality was biological and genetic.
During his tenure of the Indiana Policy Review in 1991, Pence is also on record saying that the issue of LGBT+ rights would become one of the most critical issues of the 1990s.
“They’re discussing (in Lafayette) what I suspect will be one of the biggest issues of the ’90s,” Pence said. “You’ve got a tiger by the tail.”
Also in the 1990s, Idiana proposed adding homosexuality to its non-discrimination ordinance.
Mike Pence and the Indiana Policy Review opposed the measure on public policy grounds.
“It represents a very bad move in public policy,” Pence said in January 1993. “It opens up from a legal standpoint … a Pandora’s Box of legal rights and legal difficulties once you identify homosexuals as a discrete and insular minority.”
The ordinance passed in May 193 by a 5-4 vote with Pence saying it was an effort to reform the 1964 Civil Rights Act.
“No federal agency or state agency (has) ever spoken to the question of sexual preference as a source of civil rights,” Pence said.
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