by Roy Steele
Last year the state of Indiana was in the news for all the wrong reasons. A Republican state legislator quietly introduced a Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) bill that was adopted in both houses of the legislature in March of 2015, one month before oral arguments would be heard by the Supreme Court in the landmark gay marriage case (Obergefell v. Hodges et al.), where they ruled that marriage is a fundamental right for all Americans.
Indiana and Religious Freedom
Indiana’s RFRA granted citizens and businesses alike the right to REFUSE delivery of goods and services to gay people if delivering those services were antithetical or burdensome to their religious beliefs. The measure had a provision wherein a defendant in a lawsuit could invoke the protections of the RFRA law to justify discrimination against LGBT people.
Indiana didn’t have any state laws prohibiting anti-LGBT discrimination in employment, housing or public accommodation. The Religious Freedom Restoration Act granted people of faith immunity from any lawsuits or prosecution if they discriminated against gay people, creating a protected class of people.
Governor Mike Pence (R-IN) invited faith group and hate group leaders from around the state to join him at a bill signing ceremony. He issued press releases and photographs to announce signing the bill and to promote himself and his conservative image. He wanted to run for president in 2016 and this law would play well in Iowa with their large evangelical voting bloc.
Indianapolis Star: Fix This Now
A firestorm erupted when Indiana’s largest newspaper ran a headline on the front page of the Indianapolis Star that said “Fix This Now.” The newspaper’s editorial team called on the state legislature and Governor to repeal the discriminatory law.
It was a brilliant move because that headline alerted the entire country to Governor Mike Pence’s anti-gay legislative agenda.
The Indiana Chamber of Commerce, Apple, Angie’s List, The NCAA, NBA, NFL, Salesforce.com, and countless other businesses told state lawmakers to fix the hateful bill. If they didn’t, they would cancel plans to expand their business in the state, they’d lose convention business and big sporting events, and the economic impact would be felt across the state.
The RFRA was a public relations disaster for Governor Mike Pence (R-IN) and squashed his 2016 White House ambitions. During press conferences and appearances on national news programs he fumbled answers to easy questions, dodged difficult questions, and received generally poor marks for his performance.
The Indiana state legislature modified and amended part of the bill in April 2015. The ‘fix’ provides that the RFRA cannot be used as a legal defense to discriminate against LGBT people based on their sexual orientation or gender identity. They can use other defenses to justify anti-gay discrimination, but they can’t use the RFRA as cover for their immoral actions.
Mike Pence spent twelve unremarkable years in Congress. He introduced ninety bills and resolutions, and not one piece of his legislation passed. He is also one of the most virulently anti-gay politicians in the United States. His record on gay rights is abysmal which reflects a deep-seated hate and fear of the LGBT community.
Mike Pence’s Hateful Record of Homophobia
In Mike Pence’s third run for Congress in 2000, he said that “Congress should ONLY FUND HIV treatment programs AFTER they’re audited to ensure that they DON’T SUPPORT or ENCOURAGE GAY MEN and their SINFUL HOMOSEXUAL behavior. If medical service providers SUPPORT or ENCOURAGE the HOMOSEXUAL lifestyle or agenda, the funding should be CUT and diverted to faith-based CONVERSION THERAPY programs to RID SOCIETY of HOMOSEXUALS once and for all.” NOT very Christian in my book.
Here are nine reasons NOT to vote for Donald Trump or Mike Pence, and his record Is pathetic for someone claiming to be a Christian.
- Co-sponsored an amendment to the Constitution to ban gay marriage.
- Voted against the Employment Non-Discrimination Act.
- Voted against the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act.
- Voted against the the repeal of Don’t Ask Don’t Tell.
- In 2014 he tried to block U.S. District Judge Richard Young’s ruling that Indiana’s ban on same-sex marriage was unconstitutional.
- Supports conversion therapy.
- Opposes any effort to put gay and lesbian relationships on an equal legal status with heterosexual marriage.
- Opposes any effort to “recognize homosexual’s as a ‘discrete and insular minority’ entitled to the protection of anti-discrimination laws similar to those extended to women and ethnic minorities.”
- Stated that “Congress should support the reauthorization of the Ryan White Care Act ONLY after completion of an AUDIT to ensure that federal dollars were no longer being given to organizations that celebrate and encourage the types of behaviors that facilitate the spreading of the HIV virus (gay people). Resources should be directed toward those institutions which provide assistance to those seeking to change their sexual behavior.”
The Trump campaign didn’t do a good job vetting the Indiana governor, and I think he’s an evil fraud masquerading as a Christian, which means that he's a false prophet. I’m rarely speechless, but digging more deeply into the Pence record has stunned me. And his record on women is just as heinous.
If Donald Trump and Mike Pence get anywhere near Washington, D.C. on the day of the inauguration, our country will be headed to hell. Please join me in educating voters about Mike Pence and his evil agenda. Share this story on Twitter and Facebook, and get the message out that Trump and Pence must be stopped. We all have to do what it takes for them to lose at the ballot box in November.
I’m still speechless. Mike Pence is the closest thing to a devil I’ve ever seen. He’s a candidate who is fine with killing gay people. He’s okay with murder.
straight talk in a queer world. jiveinthe415.com
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*[The Donald Trump and Mike Pence GOP clown car image above is by the talented artist Donkey Hotey]