(Human Rights Campaign) Vice President Mike Pence was in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania for a campaign event where he is expected to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for Pennsylvania U.S. Senate Candidate Rep. Lou Barletta who shares — among other things — his extreme views and antipathy towards LGBTQ people. With deeply disturbing records undermining equality, Pence and Barletta remain out of touch with a majority of Pennsylvania voters who overwhelmingly support LGBTQ equality.
“Mike Pence and Lou Barletta’s records speak for themselves,” said Human Rights Campaign (HRC) Pennsylvania State Director Allison VanKuiken. “Throughout their entire careers in public office, they have stood on the wrong side of history, consistently derailing and undermining efforts to advance equality and protect the LGBTQ community. As they campaign to push their extreme, anti-equality agendas, HRC is on the ground mobilizing our hundreds of thousands of members and supporters in Pennsylvania to reject the politics of hate and re-elect pro-equality champion Bob Casey to the U.S. Senate.”
Here’s a snapshot of where the two align in their efforts to undermine LGBTQ equality:
- Long history of opposing marriage equality: Following the historic Obergefell v Hodges decision, Barletta said the Supreme Court “had no business defining marriage,” echoing similar comments he made after marriage equality was legalized in Pennsylvania in 2014. While in Congress, Pence proposed a constitutional amendment that would have imposed a federal ban on marriage in every state.
- Support banning qualified transgender people from serving in the military: Pence is a lead architect of the effort to ban transgender troops, has rallied anti-equality leaders to support it and, with his staff, lobbied Congress to pass an amendment banning transition-related care for transgender servicemembers. Barletta sided with the administration’s discriminatory policy saying it should be left to top officials, “not politicians interested in forwarding a social or political agenda.”
- Support a license to discriminate against LGBTQ people: In 2015, Pence’s bigotry received national attention when he signed a bill that could have given businesses, organizations, and individuals a license to discriminate against LGBTQ people in employment, housing, education, and health care, as well as in access to services almost anywhere in the public square. In 2016, Barletta opposed an amendment supporting a ban on employment discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity by federal contractors.
A recent HRC report and microsite further exposes Pence’s inside-the-White House efforts to continue his decades-long crusade against equality by leading the administration’s attacks on LGBTQ people. Pence has also supported the abusive practice of so-called “conversion therapy” and attempted to block hate crime legislation and funding for HIV and AIDS prevention.
In Pennsylvania, HRC has identified more than 2.3 million “Equality Voters” — voters who support LGBTQ-inclusive policies, including marriage equality, equitable family law, and laws that would prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity. HRC has prioritized investments and organizing in Pennsylvania in the 2018 cycle, and has already put four staff members and resources on the ground in the state. Last year, HRC announced a coast-to-coast campaign called HRC Rising, which represents the largest grassroots expansion in the organization’s 38-year history.