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We asked an LGBTQ activist about Trump's joke that Pence wants to 'hang' all gay people

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Jane Mayer of The New Yorker profiled Vice President Mike Pence in a newly published piece called "The Danger of President Pence."

The article chronicled Pence’s political career and provided inside look into the relationship between President Trump and the vice president.

One of the most notable anecdotes in the article detailed when Trump reportedly "joked" that Pence wants to hang all gay people.

"A staff member from Trump’s campaign recalls him mocking Pence’s religiosity. He said that, when people met with Trump after stopping by Pence’s office, Trump would ask them, 'Did Mike make you pray?' Two sources also recalled Trump needling Pence about his views on abortion and homosexuality. During a meeting with a legal scholar, Trump belittled Pence’s determination to overturn Roe v. Wade. The legal scholar had said that, if the Supreme Court did so, many states would likely legalize abortion on their own. 'You see?' Trump asked Pence. 'You’ve wasted all this time and energy on it, and it’s not going to end abortion anyway.' When the conversation turned to gay rights, Trump motioned toward Pence and joked, “Don’t ask that guy—he wants to hang them all!”

<h2>Pence Has Supported Anti-LGBTQ Policy Throughout His Career.</h2>

Pence, in a 2006 speech to Congress said, “Societal collapse was always brought about following an advent of the deterioration of marriage and family."

Pence didn’t explicitly use the terminology, but he's employed language that's been widely interpreted as evidence he supports conversion therapy.

During his 2000 campaign for Congress in Indiana, Pence's website listed amending the Ryan White Comprehensive AIDS Resources Emergency (CARE) Act as one of its priorities. The CARE act provides funding for HIV/AIDS treatment to patients whose insurance either doesn’t cover it or they lack the finances to cover it on their own.

“Congress should support the re-authorization 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. Resources should be directed toward those institutions which provide assistance to those seeking to change their sexual behavior,” the website said.

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Human Rights Watch (HRW) described “conversion therapy” as “a range of dangerous and discredited practices that falsely claim to change a person’s sexual orientation or gender identity or expression.”

According to HRW, its practice has been rejected by every mainstream medical and mental health organization in the country for decades, but “ due to continuing discrimination and societal bias against LGBTQ people, some practitioners continue to conduct conversion therapy.”

<h2>"Growing Up Gay in America You Kind of Get Used To The Idea Of People Hating You."</h2>

Paul Weinberg is an artist and LGBTQ activist from Los Angeles, California. He said it's hard for him to explain what it feels like knowing the current administration may overturn decades of progress made by past administrations in LGBTQ rights.

"Growing up gay in America you kind of get used to the idea of people hating you," he said. "I think unless you are a person who has been oppressed in some way, either though being a person of color, a woman, a refugee, a myriad of other things. If you haven't experienced that the world at large hates you I think it's very hard to understand what that would feel like."

Weinberg said one of his main concerns about Pence during the election was the possibility of him being in a position to create mandatory conversion camps for the LGBTQ population.

"The thing that scared me most during the election and still scares me is the idea of conversion camps," he said. "The idea of being rounded up and sent somewhere and having to live in fear or in hiding. I saw the possibility of there being a kind of Gestapo and there being a government military rounding up gay guys and lesbians and trans people to convert them."

Asked whether or not he thought the American public would allow the current administration to even attempt such a policy, he says he's cautiously pessimistic.

"Of course you like to think you'd be OK and survive and all that sort of stuff," he said. "But it could turn out that a huge portion of this country wants us to be converted and wants a straight, heterosexual and I would imagine Christian country"

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<h2>Pence's record on LGBTQ rights as a member of Congress and governor of Indiana: </h2>

  • In 2015 Pence signed a bill permitting Indiana business owners to cite religious freedom as excuse to refuse service to gay and lesbian customers.
  • As an Indiana congressman, he voted against employment nondiscrimination protections for gay and transgender people and also voted against the repeal of “don’t ask, don’t tell.”
Mike Pence urges congress not to repeal "Don't ask, don't tell."

<h3>MORE FROM CIRCA:</h3>
The next US Census won't count LGBT Americans. Activists say they're being abandoned.
A federal court ruled the Civil Rights Act also prohibits LGBT workplace discrimination
Mike Pence once said said he won't eat with women other than his wife. Shots were fired.

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