Tomorrow, HRC will celebrate with local advocates at the first-ever LGBT Pride Festival in Columbus, Indiana -- hometown of Vice President Mike Pence, whose political career has been predicated on anti-LGBTQ animus. Spearheaded by Columbus high school senior Erin Bailey, organizers say they hope the event will reflect the growing diversity and commitment to inclusion evident in their community, despite Pence’s deplorable legacy.
“We are honored to participate in Columbus’ inaugural LGBT Pride Festival and prove once again that love trumps hate,” said HRC Senior Public Policy Advocate and Indiana native Jennifer Pike Bailey, who will be representing HRC at the event. “By fearlessly standing up for equality, Erin Bailey is showing Mike Pence, who has a long, disturbing record of attacking and demonizing the LGBTQ community, that Hoosiers won’t stand for his brand of discriminatory politics.”
Mike Pence has a long history of undermining progress and promoting discriminatory anti-LGBTQ policies. He first garnered national attention in 2015 for his “license to discriminate” bill that could have allowed businesses to deny service to LGBTQ people. As vice president, he has helped lead the charge for discriminatory policies including an executive order granting a license to discriminate against LGBTQ people, and attempting to ban qualified transgender service members in the military. Trump reportedly even once joked that Pence wanted to “hang” all gay people.
Pence also opposes marriage equality and Department of Education guidelines supporting transgender students. When serving in Congress, he voted against the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, the repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act, calling it a “radical social agenda.”
Columbus’ LGBT Pride Festival will take place on 4th Street downtown from 11 a.m. to 2 p.m. on Saturday, April 14.