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Mike Pence comes to Richmond next weekend

The LGBTQ-unfriendly Vice President will be in town to raise funds for Ed Gillespie and speak to Americans For Prosperity.

Marilyn Drew Necci | August 7, 2017

Mike Pence is coming to town. You better watch out! But if you want to cry or pout, we certainly understand. With a dual goal of fundraising for Republican gubernatorial candidate Ed Gillespie and giving the keynote address at Americans For Prosperity’s “Defending The American Dream” event, it’s Pence’s support for lower taxes on the rich and general economic deregulation that makes him a favorite for these events. But it’s his terrible record on LGBTQ issues that makes his visit bad news for GayRVA readers.

For Gillespie, who initially seemed reluctant to align himself too closely with the Trump administration at a time when Virginia is steadily moving in a more liberal political direction, to bring in Pence for a fundraising effort goes hand in hand with the Republican’s recently revealed intent to defund Planned Parenthood if elected.

Pence has previously opposed the push for marriage equality, attempting during his time as Indiana governor to pass an amendment to the state constitution barring gay marriage. He opposed the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, and voted against the Employment Non-Discrimination Act during his time in Congress. He’s even referred to marriage equality as something that would cause “societal collapse,” and called equal marriage contrary to “God’s idea.” This is the guy Ed Gillespie has chosen to identify himself with now.

Americans For Prosperity have a long association with Pence. Pence has received significant campaign donations on multiple occasions from Americans For Prosperity founders Charles and David Koch, the notorious Koch Brothers, whose brand of regulation-opposing, taxation-abhorring capitalism should need no introduction.

However, what’s not as well-known is that the Koch Brothers, through their Freedom Partners political action committee, contribute significantly to CitizenLink, the political action organization funded by the anti-LGBTQ group Focus On The Family. What’s more, their more well-known economic policies cannot in and of themselves be seen as anything but anti-LGBTQ in light of the fact that LGBTQ Americans are more likely to be poor than the average American, due to continuing discrimination and harassment in matters of employment, housing, and more.

Based on all of this information, it seems undeniable that visits to Richmond by both Mike Pence and the Koch Brothers are bad news for the LGBTQ community. Can the same be said for a visit from Ed Gillespie? We can’t say for sure just yet, but based on his recent public statements and political affiliations, things aren’t looking too promising.

Americans For Prosperity’s “Defending The American Dream” event will take place at the Richmond Marriott Downtown, located at 500 E. Broad St, from 9:30 AM until 5:30 PM on Saturday, August 19. Stay with us for GayRVA’s continuing coverage of this event.