Mike Pence, Indiana Governor and Donald Trump’s running mate, said in 2000 that he was in favor of sending money allocated to care for people with HIV/AIDS to organizations that provide conversion therapy.
Pence advocated for that position on his campaign website from that time, as BuzzFeed’s Andrew Kaczynski reports:
During his first successful run for Congress in 2000, now-Indiana Gov. Mike Pence wrote on his website in a section on LGBT issues that money from a program to help those with HIV/AIDS should go to organizations “which provide assistance to those seeking to change their sexual behavior.”
That section on LGBT issues was called, “Strengthening the American Family.” It read:
- Congress should oppose any effort to put gay and lesbian relationships on an equal legal status with heterosexual marriage.
- Congress should oppose any effort to recognize homosexual’s as a “discreet and insular minority” entitled to the protection of anti-discrimination laws similar to those extended to women and ethnic minorities.
- Congress should support the reauthorization of the Ryan White Care Act only after completion of an audit to ensure that federal dollars were no longer being given to organizations that celebrate and encourage the types of behaviors that facilitate the spreading of the HIV virus. Resources should be directed toward those institutions which provide assistance to those seeking to change their sexual behavior. [emphasis added]
Though the section does not explicitly mention conversion therapy by name, the context along with the focus on changing one’s sexual behavior both strongly indicate that conversion therapy is what was being indicated.
The Ryan White HIV/AIDS Program (RWHAP) provides a comprehensive system of care that includes primary medical care and essential support services for people living with HIV who are uninsured or underinsured. The Program works with cities, states and local community-based organizations to provide HIV care and treatment services to more than 512,000 each year, reaching approximately 52% of all those diagnosed with HIV in the United States.
In essence, Mike Pence was in favor of taking money away from organizations that achieve the above goals if they ‘celebrate and encourage’ homosexual sex and sending money to groups that endorse the belief that you can pray away the gay.
Watch a video on the Ryan White Care Act, which turned 25 last year, below.