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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, October 14, 2016 - Volume 44 Issue 42
LGBT issues missing from VP debate
Section One
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LGBT issues missing from VP debate

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

Whoever you think won the October 4 vice presidential debate, one thing is clear: LGBT issues were glaringly absent from the discussion.

In fact, Democrat Tim Kaine threw away a perfect opportunity to force Republican Mike Pence to defend his horrible record of anti-LGBT views.

Asked by moderator Elaine Quijano for one example where a public policy stand he felt obliged to take diverged from his Catholic faith, Kaine could have brought up his support for LGBT rights.

Instead, he said that as governor of Virginia he felt he should execute convicted criminals despite the Catholic Church's opposition to the death penalty. That answer not only distanced Kaine from base voters in his own party but it let Pence off the hook.

Speaking on MSNBC after the debate, Lesbian news anchor Rachel Maddow said she was 'surprised' that Kaine passed up the opportunity to nail Pence on his anti-Gay attitudes.

'I was surprised, especially the way that Tim Kaine approaches this, that we didn't get more about how Gov. Mike Pence has behaved on feminist issues, on reproductive rights issues - we got there a little bit - but specifically on LGBT issues,' Maddow said.

'I mean, I don't think that because I'm Gay I was looking to hear more of it than most people were, but I mean, Mike Pence is really famous for having pushed the most aggressive pro-LGBT-discrimination bill in the country, having to really embarrassingly walk it back.

'When he was in Congress, he said that HIV and AIDS funding should not be disbursed unless it was also spent - federal dollars - spent to try to cure people from being Gay. I mean, he's got a really, really, really radical position and history and current positions on Gay issues. It didn't come up at all.'

The Victory Fund joined Maddow in expressing concern that LGBT issues had been left out of the debate.

'Mike Pence has made a career of singling out LGBT people for discrimination, and it is disappointing tonight's debate did not address his long record of using public office to advance his backward views,' said Victory Fund President and CEO Aisha C. Moodie-Mills.

'Pence opposes recognition of our relationships, opposes LGBT soldiers serving openly in the military, and opposes prohibiting restaurants and other businesses from refusing service to LGBT customers. It is important the Trump campaign's extremist anti-LGBT positions be exposed in future debates - along with its attacks on women, immigrants, Latinos, Muslims, and veterans recovering from war. Their entire campaign has been built on fear and bigotry, and we believe voters will reject their attempts to turn back the clock on progress.'

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