Governor Mike Pence is not only the subject of lectures by whiny Hamilton actors, he’s also at the center of a fake news scandal.
These are distractions while Vice President-Elect Pence is helping to decide who will serve in Donald Trump’s cabinet.
Pence, it is being said, supported electric shocks for gay people – and gay conversion therapy.
There is no evidence for this whatsoever. Pence was a talk radio host for years and there are no clips of him talking about it.
Snopes has called the claim unproven, although dismissing the ‘electric shock’ part outright, while liberal shill site Politifact rates it as true. However, the claim is based on language from Pence’s 2000 campaign website for Congress, wherein he talks about not funding clinics that engage in ‘risky behaviors’ and advocates ‘changing sexual behavior’.
This does not mean ‘changing sexual orientation‘ and the context is about funding for HIV prevention clinics, which cater mostly but not exclusively to gay people.
So the language here is about stopping ‘behaviors that facilitate the spreading of the HIV virus’ and ‘change their sexual behavior’ but not orientation.
There is every evidence that Pence supported abstinence programs for HIV and teen pregnancy.
In 2003, CSpan preserves a speech and transcript. I apologize for the all-caps, which as written:
THERE IS A EPIDEMIC OF AIDS AND H.I.V. IN AFRICA. IT IS HEARTBREAKING TO REPORT THIS PANDEMIC AFFECTING 42 MILLION SOULS. 8,500 DEATHS EVERY DAY. ENTIRE VILLAGES WITHOUT A SINGLE ADULT. EARLIER THIS WEEK WE HEARD THE PRESIDENT DESCRIBE A PASSIONATE VISION OF MORAL OBLIGATION FOR THE AMERICAN PEOPLE ADDRESSING THIS CRISIS THAT WOULD BRING NOT ONLY $15 BILLION, BUT WOULD PUT A PRIORITY ON THE VALUES OF THE AMERICAN PEOPLE, NAMELY ABSTINENCE AND FAITHFULNESS TO MARRIAGE OVER CONDOM DISTRIBUTION.
This abstinence-based theme of Pence’s was the same when it came to condoms and teenage pregnancy, not a gay rights concern. In 2002, on CNN, Mike Pence thought that abstinence was the way to go here too. Colin Powell had endorsed condom training for young people under President George W. Bush:
Congressman, first to you. What’s wrong with what Secretary Powell have to say about endorsing condom use for those who are sexually active?
REP. MIKE PENCE (R), INDIANA: Well, Wolf, I think it was — given the enormous stature that Colin Powell rightly has, not only in America but in the world community, it was a sad day. I don’t think any administration has had a worse day since boxers and briefs on MTV. And the truth is that Colin Powell had an opportunity here to reaffirm this president’s commitment to abstinence as the best choice for our young people, and he chose not to do that in the first instance, but — and so I think it’s very sad. The other part is that, frankly, condoms are a very, very poor protection against sexually transmitted diseases, and in that sense, Wolf, this was — the secretary of state maybe inadvertently misleading millions of young people and endangering lives.
Now one can heartily disagree with then-Congressman Pence on abstinence, but it is clear that when discussing HIV risk and behaviors, the mitigating strategy he has historically supported is abstinence – not “gay conversions”.
Pence rammed home the point:
BLITZER: What about that, congressman?
PENCE: Well, I just simply believe the only truly safe sex, Wolf, as the president believes, is no sex. And we ought to, with leaders of the stature of the secretary of state, we ought to be sending a message to kids across the country and the opportunity had across the world that abstinence is the best choice for young people. But let’s be clear, last year, the National Institute of Health, Wolf, and some 28 separate experts said at least a half dozen to ten sexually transmitted diseases for which condom use has zero preventative value. The secretary of state is simply wrong.
So let’s “abstain” from fake news, please.