Indiana Gov. Mike Pence (R) apparently previously advocated far more controversial positions on gay rights than his state’s controversial new “religious freedom” law.
BuzzFeed reporter Andrew Kaczynski noted on Tuesday that the internet archiving site archiving site Wayback Machine captured Pence, a former congressman, opposing efforts to protect gays from discrimination and supporting “assistance to those seeking to change their sexual behaviour” in 2000.
“Congress should oppose any effort to recognise homosexual’s as a ‘discreet and insular minority’ entitled to the protection of anti-discrimination laws similar to those extended to women and ethnic minorities,” his website stated under the headline: “The Pence Agenda: A Guide To Renewing The America Dream.”
Pence is under intense scrutiny since last week, when he signed the “religious freedom” law. Critics say the bill aims to legalise discrimination against same-sex couples, and a number of businesses and governments have since announced economic boycotts of the state. Pence dismissed these accusations, but in a defiant Tuesday press conference, he said he now wants to change the law to fix its “perception problem.”
Pence’s old campaign website contained several other controversial claims about the gay community.
He apparently advocated ending the military’s former “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” policy that allowed gays to serve if they did not disclose their sexuality. The text on his site indicated the rule was problematic because gays should not be allowed in the armed forces under any circumstances.
“In addition to defence spending, Congress should lead a national debate on reforming the military by …. bringing an end to the ‘don’t ask/don’t tell’ policy of permitting homosexuals to serve in the armed forces. Homosexuality is incompatible with military service because the presence of homosexuals in the ranks weakens unit cohesion,” his agenda stated.
He also seemed to advocate government funding for organisations that encourage gays to renounce their homosexuality.
The “Pence Agenda” supported “an audit to ensure that federal dollars were no longer being given to organisations that celebrate and encourage the types of behaviours that facilitate the spreading of the HIV virus.”
“Resources should be directed toward those institutions which provide assistance to those seeking to change their sexual behaviour,” the site said.
Pence’s office didn’t immediately respond to a request for comment from Business Insider on the old campaign website.
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