The second day of the Republican National Convention features Ben Carson, who made airwaves today with his transphobic comments, and two Republican elected officials who have consistently worked against equality throughout their careers -- U.S. Senator Mitch McConnell, R-KY, and Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker. Their appearances come a day after the party embraced the most overtly anti-LGBTQ platform in its history.
Tomorrow, Mike Pence, who has made anti-LGBTQ animus a cornerstone of his political career, is poised to accept the Republican Party’s vice presidential nomination. The following night, Donald Trump is expected to accept the party’s presidential nomination, finalizing a ticket that would put at risk everything the LGBTQ community has gained over the last eight years.
Ben Carson, speaking at the Florida delegation breakfast, compared transgender people to someone who “woke up tomorrow morning after seeing a movie about Afghanistan and saying ‘you know what? I’m Afghanistani [sic].” As a doctor, Ben Carson’s absurd comments about transgender people are not only wrong, but recklessly ignorant. Sadly, this is not the first time his anti-LGBTQ thinking has been in line with the presumptive Republican ticket: Carson defended Gov. Mike Pence’s “right to discriminate” law, suggesting that many discrimination claims are just “political correctness.”
Senator Mitch McConnell
Senator Mitch McConnell (R-KY) has spent his career fighting against LGBTQ equality, voting to support a constitutional ban on marriage for same-sex couples and supporting the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act. He also opposed legislation to include sexual orientation and gender identity in our nation’s hate crimes law, voted no on protecting LGBTQ people from workplace discrimination, and voted against reauthorizing the Violence Against Women Act (VAWA) because it extends protections to LGBTQ people.
Governor Scott Walker
Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker has a history of obstructing and rolling back basic rights for LGBTQ Americans. He actively fought against marriage equality in Wisconsin, and appealed the court decision that brought marriage equality to the state. Before he was elected governor, Walker, serving as Milwaukee County Executive, cut funding for HIV and AIDS prevention, saying that he did not like the idea of “using tax dollars to support illegal activity,” and that he did not consider HIV and AIDS prevention “a core function of the county.”
The Trump-Pence Ticket
Pence became a national disgrace in 2015 for his “license to discriminate” bill that could have allowed businesses to deny service to LGBTQ people. He subsequently defended the law even amid an outcry from the business community and a majority of Hoosier voters. In a now notorious interview with ABC last year, Pence refused to answer eight separate times when asked whether businesses should be able to discriminate against LGBTQ people.
Pence’s discriminatory bill had enormous consequences for the business and economic health of Indiana after a flood of companies spoke out against his bill. Indianapolis’s nonprofit tourism agency estimated that, Pence’s anti-LGBTQ bill cost the city alone up to 12 conventions and $60 million in lost revenue. Polling conducted by HRC after the 2015 fight found that 75 percent of Hoosiers said the debate was bad for the state’s economy and 70 percent of those surveyed said they opposed to the law.
Trump has reaffirmed his opposition to transgender equality, appeared alongside Tony Perkins -- leader of SPLC-designated hate group the Family Research Council -- and delusionally bragged about fictional support from the LGBTQ community in the wake of the Pulse Nightclub shooting in Orlando. His false claims about his own support are belied by his own long record of opposing LGBTQ equality.
For more on Trump and Pence’s opposition to LGBTQ equality, click here.
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