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The Pence Problem

Vice President Mike Pence pitches himself as a “cheerful partisan” and a “happy warrior.” 

The Man Who Would Be President is certainly a partisan and a warrior, but how happy and cheerful he is may be in the eye of the beholder.

In six terms in Congress and one as governor of Indiana, Pence has taken stands and made comments that have drawn criticism from women, minorities, the LGBT community and others.

“I’m a Christian, a conservative and a Republican, in that order,” Pence said as he accepted the vice presidential nomination in July 2016.

Here’s a look at some of Pence’s comments on a variety of issues over the years:

2006 speech on the floor of the U.S. House

“Harvard sociologist Pitirim Sorokin found that throughout history, societal collapse was always brought about following an advent of the deterioration of marriage and family.”

Speaking to CNN in 2010 on the repeal of the “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy regarding gay people in the military

"We ought not to use the American military as a backdrop for social experimentation or debating domestic policy issues.”

1999 op-ed on women serving in the military

“Many young women find many young men to be attractive sexually. Put them together in close quarters for long periods of time, and things will get interesting. Just like they eventually did for young Mulan. Moral of story: women in military, bad idea.”

Speaking to MSNBC’s Chuck Todd in 2014

“In the state of Indiana, marriage is recognized as between a man and a woman, and I think that’s how it should remain.”

2001 House campaign website

“Homosexuality is incompatible with military service because the presence of homosexuals in the ranks weakens unit cohesion.”

2001 House campaign website

Congress should oppose any effort to recognize homosexuals as a ‘discreet and insular minority’ entitled to the protection of anti-discrimination laws similar to those extended to women and ethnic minorities.”

2003 speech to Congress about then-president George W. Bush’s response to the AIDS epidemic in Africa

“The timeless values of abstinence and marital faithfulness before condom distribution are the cure for what ails the families of Africa. It is important that we not just send them money, but we must send them values that work.”

2001 House campaign website

“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.”

*The Ryan White CARE Act was the largest federally funded program for people living with HIV/AIDS.

Illustration by SPLC