Earlier this week, U.S. Olympic figure skater Adam Rippon expressed his disapproval that Vice President Mike Pence is leading the U.S. delegation to South Korea for the Winter Olympics.
Rippon spoke with USA Today about the choice: “You mean Mike Pence, the same Mike Pence that funded gay conversion therapy? I’m not buying it.”
Rippon said he’d avoid a meet-and-greet with Pence because of his views: “If it were before my event, I would absolutely not go out of my way to meet somebody who I felt has gone out of their way to not only show that they aren’t a friend of a gay person but that they think that they’re sick.”
Rippon also said that Pence does not have a “real concept of reality” if he declares himself to be a “devout Christian” and stands by Donald Trump’s policies: “If he’s okay with what’s being said about people and Americans and foreigners and about different countries that are being called ‘s—holes,’ I think he should really go to church.”
Rippon said he might speak to Pence if he felt there was a way to have “an open conversation.”
Pence’s spokesman Alyssa Farah told USA Today that Rippon’s claims have “no basis in fact:”
“The vice president is proud to lead the U.S. delegation to the Olympics and support America’s incredible athletes. This accusation is totally false and has no basis in fact. Despite these misinformed claims, the vice president will be enthusiastically supporting all the U.S. athletes competing next month in Pyeongchang.”
That, unfortunately, is not true.
Pence, as his record shows, is no friend to the LGBTQ community.
In 2000 during his first successful run for Congress, Pence said that he was in favor of sending money allocated to care for people with HIV/AIDS to organizations that provide conversion therapy.
From running a think-tank that published virulently anti-gay articles, to attempting to divert HIV/AIDS money to fund conversion therapy, to refusing to protect LGBT Hoosiers from discrimination, to legalizing anti-LGBT discrimination in Indiana, to cozying up to notorious homophobes, to supporting a ban on gay marriage, and decrying the ‘mainstreaming of homosexuality in the military’ after DADT was repealed, Pence’s record is among the worst records on LGBTQ issues of anyone who has ever occupied the office of the Vice President.