Pence’s neighbors troll VP with ‘Make America Gay Again’ banner

  • Indiana Gov. Mike Pence speaks during an interview with FOX News Channel's Sean Hannity after Donald Trump selected him for running mate on the Republican presidential ticket, Friday July 15, 2016, in New York. Pence's conservative track record on immigration dates to his earliest days in the House of Representatives and echoes the hard-line stance of his presumptive running mate on the Republican presidential ticket, Donald Trump. (AP Photo/Bebeto Matthews) Bebeto Matthews

Washington Post
Saturday, December 30, 2017

Vice President Mike Pence arrived in Aspen, Colo., this week for a holiday vacation – but not without encountering a silent protest from his neighbors in the liberal ski resort town.

“Make America Gay Again,” reads a rainbow banner posted on the stone pillars at the end of the driveway of the home where Pence and his wife, Karen, are staying.

A dispatcher with the Pitkin County Sheriff’s Office referred the Washington Post to the White House press office Saturday, but sheriff’s deputy Michael Buglione told the Aspen Times that Pence’s next-door neighbors posted the banners shortly after the vice president and his family arrived on Tuesday. In an email to the Aspen Times, Shannon Slade said she is a girlfriend of one of the daughters of the couple living in the house and that they posted the banner.

LGBT advocates have previously showed their opposition to Pence.

In December, residents in the affluent Washington neighborhood of Chevy Chase hoisted rainbow flags outside their homes following news that Pence, then newly elected, would live there temporarily before moving to the vice president’s residence at the Naval Observatory.

Protesters showed up the following month, dancing their way through the neighborhood and to the house Pence had rented ahead of the inauguration.

Pence, who has often described himself as “a Christian, a conservative and a Republican, in that order,” has a long history of opposing same-sex marriage and other policies that provide equal protections to members of the LGBT community.

As Indiana governor, a position he held before he was tapped as President Donald Trump’s running mate, Pence signed into law a controversial legislation that advocates said would allow businesses to discriminate against members of the LGBT community. The national uproar over the divisive bill, called the Religious Freedom Restoration Act, or RFRA, prompted Indiana legislators to modify it by adding anti-discrimination protections. But those only applied in cities, some of which are the most liberal in the state, where such protections already exist locally.

A paragraph on Pence’s campaign website when he ran for Congress in 2000 fueled speculations that he is an advocate of conversion therapy, a practice of trying to change someone’s sexual orientation that is banned in several states and discredited by medical organizations.

Pence said on his website that federal dollars should not go to organizations “that celebrate and encourage types of behaviors that facilitate the spreading of the HIV virus” and funds should, instead, be given to “institutions which provide assistance to those seeking to change their sexual behavior.”

Pence’s spokesman, Mark Lotter, told the New York Times last year that the vice president does not support conversion therapy, and that his campaign statement was misinterpreted.

In Congress, where he was a member from 2001 to 2013 before becoming Indiana governor, Pence described traditional marriage as the institution “that forms the backbone of our society.”