Mike Pence welcomed by Washington neighbours with gay pride flags

'He’s a man that could use a little reminder of American values'

Lucy Pasha-Robinson
Friday 02 December 2016 17:03 GMT
Mr Pence is known for his markedly conservative stance on marriage equality and LGBTQ rights
Mr Pence is known for his markedly conservative stance on marriage equality and LGBTQ rights (Getty Images)

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Louise Thomas

Louise Thomas


Vice President-elect Mike Pence’s new neighbours are welcoming him to Washington by hanging rainbow flags from their houses in solidarity with America's LGBTQ community.

Mr Pence is currently renting a $6,000-a-month (£4,700) home in the Chevy Chase neighbourhood of Washington DC's northwest quadrant, ahead of moving to the Naval Observatory when he is officially sworn in on 20 January alongside President-elect Donald Trump.

The Indiana governor, who is known for his markedly conservative views on marriage equality and LGBTQ rights, fuelled controversy last year after he signed a religious freedom law the LGBTQ community feared would encourage discrimination.

"I have no idea what he will think about it, but I hope he will change his mind. This is one way that I can show my disagreement,” one woman who lives on the street told ABC 7.

“Half a dozen houses on the block now have flags flying, with more on the way.”

Another neighbour said the flags could help remind Mr Pence of “American values”.

“I think he’s a man that could use a little reminder of American values, so I think that’s a good gesture,” he told wusa9.

“We want to make clear how we feel about how other people should be treated,” another said.

On an archived version of Mr Pence’s 2000 congressional campaign website, he outlined his views on LGBTQ rights, saying: "Congress should oppose any effort to put gay and lesbian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 recognise homosexuals 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 reauthorisation of the Ryan White CARE Act only after completion of an audit to ensure that federal dollars were no longer being given to organisations that celebrate and encourage the types of behaviors that facilitate the spreading of the HIV virus."

The Ryan White CARE act is a federally funded US program that supports low-income, uninsured and under-insured people living with HIV and AIDS and their families.

The statement “resources should be directed toward those institutions which provide assistance to those seeking to change their sexual behavior” has been interpreted by many to mean he is in favour of conversion therapy for LGBT people.

However a spokesperson for Mr Pence told the New York Times at the time that this was a “mischaracterisation” and “patently false”.

Mr Pence was greeted with boos at a performance of Hamilton in New York in November, and the cast subsequently delivered a speech on behalf of "diverse America" urging him to represent them in his administration.

The Independent has contacted the Vice President-elect’s office for comment.

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