If you were running a hateful, fear-mongering, bile-filled presidential campaign, who would you pick as your VP?
The guy responsible for $60 million in economic damages to his state’s capital city alone? Someone who’s supported anti-woman and anti-LGBT legislation? Better yet, someone who did this all in one fell swoop?
Trump’s VP “Guess Who?” game is over, and Indiana Gov. Mike Pence is the winner. The same Mike Pence responsible for the disastrous RFRA (Religious Freedom Restoration Act) legislation, that even Gov. Nathan Deal had enough common sense to veto.
RFRA is the policy measure that allows homophobic businesses, service providers and employers to discriminate against LGBT people.
Georgia’s own legislature passed a similar measure earlier this year, however it was ultimately vetoed by the Governor.
Indiana, on the other hand, passed their RFRA measure in 2015. Since then, there have been reports of over $60 million in economic damages to Indianapolis, just from lost convention business alone.
Not only did the measure earn the ire of the LGBT community, but Gov. Pence made sure to clarify that LGBT people were just a casualty of a bill aimed at women.
Remember the Hobby Lobby case? This is the 2014 SCOTUS decision that allowed closely held corporations to refuse to provide birth control coverage in their insurance policies, because it goes against sincerely held (but medically inaccurate) beliefs.
The federal RFRA was one of the key factors in winning that case.
At a press conference shortly after the passage of RFRA in Indiana, Gov. Pence said:
“[I]n the wake of last year’s Supreme Court case, the Hobby Lobby case, I just thought [RFRA] was an appropriate addition to Indiana statutes.”
He later goes on to call the Hobby Lobby case “the precipitating event” for passing this legislation.
Taking LGBT people down was just a fun bonus.
Since then, Gov. Pence has spoken out against the recent Dept. of Education guidelines encouraging schools to treat transgender students with respect. Pence joined many other conservative governors — Georgia’s Nathan Deal included — in condemning the guidelines, saying the federal government had “no business” getting involved in the matter.
Because, really, what this country needs more of it fearful old white men desperate to hold on to power.