MILWAUKEE -- On Wednesday, Vice President Mike Pence will travel to Wisconsin for a campaign event where he is expected to raise hundreds of thousands of dollars for Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker who shares -- among other things -- his extreme views and antipathy towards LGBTQ people. With deeply disturbing records undermining equality and peddling extremist ideologies, Pence and Walker both have made virulent anti-LGBTQ activism a cornerstone of their political careers, and remain out of touch with a majority of Wisconsin voters, who overwhelmingly support LGBTQ equality.
“Mike Pence and Scott Walker are two anti-equality peas in a pod whose extremist, discriminatory records pose a threat to Wisconsin and the nation,” said Human Rights Campaign Wisconsin State Manager Wendy Strout. “From their opposition to marriage equality to their support for a ban on qualified transgender people serving our nation in the military, they do not represent Wisconsin values. As they campaign together to push their extreme agendas, HRC continues to mobilize its hundreds of thousands of members and supporters in Wisconsin to reject the politics of hate and turn out for equality come November.”
Here’s a snapshot of where the two align in their pursuit of undermining LGBTQ equality:
✅Long history of opposing marriage equality: Walker supported Wisconsin's constitutional amendment banning marriage equality, vetoed a bill to give domestic partner benefits to workers and tried to kill a domestic partner registry. While in Congress, Pence proposed a constitutional amendment that would have imposed a federal ban on marriage in every state.
✅Support banning qualified transgender people from serving in the military: Pence is a lead architect of the effort to ban transgender troops, has rallied anti-equality leaders to support it and, with his staff, lobbied Congress to pass an amendment banning transition-related care for transgender servicemembers. Walker has said he “wouldn’t change” the Trump-Pence ban on transgender service members.
✅Support a license to discriminate against LGBTQ people: In 2015, Pence’s bigotry received national attention when he signed a bill that could have given businesses, organizations, and individuals a license to discriminate against LGBTQ people in employment, housing, education, and health care, as well as in access to services almost anywhere in the public square. Though the effort prompted widespread condemnation from both sides of the political aisle, Walker expressed support for the “principle” of Pence’s attempt to legalize discrimination.
A new HRC report and microsite further exposes Pence’s inside-the-White House efforts to continue his decades-long crusade against equality by leading the administration’s attacks on LGBTQ people. Pence has also supported the abusive practice of so-called “conversion therapy” and attempted to block hate crime legislation and funding for HIV and AIDS prevention.
Walker is not the only anti-equality candidate vying to run statewide in November: Kevin Nicholson and Wisconsin State Senator Leah Vukmir are both seeking the Republican Senate nomination to run against HRC-endorsed pro-equality champion U.S. Senator Tammy Baldwin. Vukmir has consistently voted against pro-equality legislation, derailing efforts to add protections for LGBTQ students in a state anti-bullying bill and supporting a constitutional amendment banning marriage equality. Nicholson backed the Trump-Pence administration's efforts to ban transgender people from serving in the military and has received significant funding and support from opponents of equality, including Richard Uihlein, a top donor for failed anti-LGBTQ Alabama Senate candidate Roy Moore.
In July, HRC announced a bold, proactive grassroots expansion with the launch of HRC Rising -- a campaign to accelerate progress in states from coast-to-coast, resist the politics of hate, fight anti-LGBTQ legislation, and fuel pro-equality candidates and initiatives. The campaign is the biggest strategic expansion in the organization’s 38-year history and will include significant investments in Wisconsin. HRC has identified more than 560,000 Wisconsinites as likely Equality Voters, meaning they are strong supporters of progressive LGBTQ policies including marriage equality, equitable family law, and laws that would prohibit discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation or gender identity.
The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and queer people. HRC envisions a world where LGBTQ people are embraced as full members of society at home, at work, and in every community.
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