Mike Pence, whose was maybe finest recognized earlier than his vice presidency for his socially conservative positions on LGBT points as Indiana’s governor, had lunch Tuesday in Dublin with Irish Prime Minister Leo Varadkar, who’s homosexual.
That lunch, additionally attended by Pence’s spouse and Varadkar’s companion, was framed in a weekend tweet by a White Home spokesman as proof that Pence just isn’t anti-gay — a rationale that incurred backlash from critics who noticed it as one other try by the administration to assert it’s not hostile to LGBT Individuals whereas it enacts insurance policies which might be.
Deputy White Home press secretary Judd Deere tweeted Sunday “for all who nonetheless suppose our @VP is anti-gay” to think about the lunch.
Accepting Deere’s implication that the Pences can’t be anti-gay, due to their willingness to dine with a homosexual couple, would require ignoring the affect that the coverage positions the vp has supported for years have had on LGBT individuals.
Deere, one of many highest-ranking overtly homosexual workers members within the Trump White Home, is tasked with often defending the administration to the general public, and he has pushed again on the concept that his bosses aren’t supporters of the LGBT neighborhood.
“The left actually needs to proceed to push what I take into account to be a disgusting message that LGBT Individuals are threatened underneath this administration,” Deere informed BuzzFeed in an interview earlier this yr. “It’s only a smear marketing campaign.”
Different Deere quotes from the profile embrace:
“I’ve clearly been employed, and promoted since I’ve obtained right here, and I’m utterly open about who I’m.”
“These people that I work with on this constructing don’t deal with me any in another way as a result of I’m homosexual.”
However Deere’s arguments in all probability haven’t modified any minds. His success within the Trump administration and Pence’s performing of an official obligation with a overseas head of state don’t negate the truth that Trump — and Pence for a for much longer time — have backed insurance policies that homosexual rights advocates say are dangerous to the broader LGBT neighborhood.
Chad Griffin, former president of the Human Rights Marketing campaign, informed me early within the Trump administration that Pence “has made attacking the rights and dignity of LGBT individuals a cornerstone of his political profession — not only a half however a defining a part of his profession.”
Whereas Deere mentioned his sexual orientation has not stored him from being promoted, he hails from a state — Arkansas — the place LGBT individuals might be fired for his or her sexual orientation. Neither Trump nor Pence nor Ivanka Trump, the senior adviser who reportedly has been an advocate for the LGBT neighborhood inside the White Home, has publicly expressed help for the Equality Act. That laws, handed within the Home in Could, would ban discrimination based mostly on sexual orientation and gender identification.
Michelangelo Signorile, a radio host and creator, expounded on the actions taken by the Trump administration that the homosexual neighborhood says are dangerous in The Washington Submit Opinions part final month:
Trump started unraveling Obama-era progress on LGBTQ rights virtually instantly. Inside its first weeks, his administration withdrew an Obama directive on remedy of transgender college students. Just a few months later, Trump fired off a tweet asserting that he’d reinstate a ban — which Obama had ended — on transgender individuals serving within the army. This yr, the Division of Well being and Human Companies moved to strip anti-discrimination protections for LGBTQ individuals within the Inexpensive Care Act.
Throughout his gubernatorial profession and time in Congress, Pence was criticized by the LGBT neighborhood for opposing same-sex marriage, blocking hate crimes laws that may have benefited the LGBT neighborhood, voting towards laws that may have protected LGBT individuals from office discrimination, supporting organizations that implement “homosexual conversion remedy” and his place on transgender points.
Pence’s stances on LGBT points have resurfaced throughout the 2020 marketing campaign as presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg, the mayor of South Bend, Ind., has accused the vp of utilizing his religion to discriminate towards LGBT individuals.
Pence informed CNN in April that he and Buttigieg, who’s homosexual, “labored very carefully collectively once I was [Indiana’s] governor, and I thought-about him a buddy. And he is aware of I don’t have an issue with him.”
The vp then accused Buttigieg of attacking him for his religion, which is what number of conservative Christians like Pence view critiques of their place on LGBT points.
“All of us have our personal non secular convictions. Pete has his convictions; I’ve mine,” he mentioned. “I hope that Pete will supply extra to the American individuals than assaults on my Christian religion or assaults on the president as he seeks the best workplace within the land. He’d do nicely to replicate on the significance of respecting the liberty of faith of each American.”
Homosexual Republicans are divided over the Trump administration, given its stances on some LGBT points.
Final month, the Log Cabin Republicans (a corporation for homosexual Republicans) endorsed Trump in a Submit op-ed as a result of, they mentioned, he had “adopted by on lots of his commitments” to the LGBT neighborhood. However the group nonetheless took difficulty with a few of Trump’s insurance policies, notably the transgender army ban. A member of the group’s board and its govt director resigned consequently of the endorsement.
Deere in all probability has heard all of the counterpoints to his arguments that the Trump administration just isn’t anti-LGBT and is aware of that one lunch received’t change opinions concerning the vp on these points. So Deere is both displaying how low the bar is for this administration to clear in signaling it’s not hostile to the LGBT neighborhood, or he’s throwing supporters who need it a shallow rationale to argue that their standard-bearers aren’t anti-gay.
This publish has been up to date.