Mike Pence to Accept GOP Nomination at RNC, Speakers Include Ted Cruz, Pam Bondi and Newt Gingrich
Indiana Gov. Mike Pence, who has made anti-LGBTQ animus a cornerstone of his political career, is poised to accept the nomination for vice president today, the third day of the Republican National Convention (RNC). Featured as his opening acts are three politicians whose anti-equality bona fides mirror those of Pence, and presumptive GOP Presidential nominee Donald Trump: Senator Ted Cruz (R-TX), former Congressman Newt Gingrich, and Florida Attorney General Pam Bondi.
Here’s a recap of the anti-equality speakers on deck for Wednesday night.
Senator Ted Cruz
Whether the issue is marriage equality or critical protections from discrimination, Texas Senator Ted Cruz has consistently opposed equality for LGBTQ Americans. During his campaign for the 2016 Republican presidential nomination, he ran a smear campaign against transgender Americans, releasing despicable transphobic ads and suggesting transgender people should “only use restrooms at home and avoid public facilities.”
Like Donald Trump, Cruz has also pledged to fight against nationwide marriage equality, promising to introduce a constitutional amendment preventing the federal government from recognizing the Obergefell decision. Cruz also voted against the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA), stood behind discriminatory Kentucky clerk Kim Davis, and said he would “absolutely” push for enactment of the First Amendment Defense Act (FADA) in his first 100 days in office.
Bondi fought marriage equality in Florida, arguing in court documents that recognizing marriages of same-sex couples performed in other states would disrupt existing marriage laws and “impose significant public harm.”
Bondi was named “Loser of the Year” by the Tampa Bay Times in 2014 for her fight against marriage equality. “Bondi's clumsy communication skills and relentless defense of Florida's ban on marriage equality have made her a modern-day Anita Bryant,” the newspaper wrote.
Gingrich opposed the Supreme Court’s marriage equality ruling in Obergefell, asserting, “First, as [Chief Justice John] Roberts warns, there are now no limiting principles to the establishment of new legal relationships and rights across a wide range of behaviors. He specifically notes polygamy as the next opportunity.”
Gingrich has long opposed marriage equality. In 2011, he said, “I favor adoption being between a man and a woman. Traditional families is what I'm in favor of. Period.” Gingrich -- whose own sister is lesbian -- has also said that people choose to be LGBTQ, in the same way that people can “choose to be celibate.”
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 -- and subsequently defending the bill over 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.