Gay lawmaker ‘welcomes’ Mike Pence to his city by flipping the bird

A gay US state lawmaker has made his feelings towards Vice President Mike Pence perfectly clear.

Brian Sims, a Democratic member of the Pennsylvania House of Representatives in the 182nd district and the state’s first out lawmaker, spoke out ahead of the Vice President’s visit to Philadelphia for a Republican fundraiser.

The out lawmaker took exception to Pence’s well-documented policy stances on LGBT rights.

Taking to Facebook, he ‘welcomed’ Pence to Pennsylvania with a raised middle finger.

Sims said: “OFFICIAL WELCOME: Vice President Mike Pence let me be the first person to officially welcome you to the City of Brotherly Love, and to my District in the State House!

“To be clear, we’re a City of soaring diversity. We believe in the power of all people to live and to contribute: Black, Brown, Queer, Trans, Atheist, Immigrant, we want you and we’ll respect you.

“So keep that in mind while you’re here raising money to attack more families, spread more lies, blaspheme with your bible, and maybe even talk to a woman without your wife in the room.

“We have plenty of them, and they’re pretty much all more powerful and more real than you have ever been.

“So…get bent, then get out!”

A report recently exposed Pence’s role in a string of quiet anti-LGBT actions taken by the Trump administration.

The Human Rights Campaign report looked in-depth at Pence’s record on LGBT rights as a candidate, as Governor of Indiana, and as Vice President – demonstrating a “consistent” approach to dismantling discrimination protections.

It summarised his alleged support for gay ‘cure’ therapy, his unwillingness to condemn businesses who fire people for being gay, and his signing of a controversial Indiana law that gave businesses the right to discriminate against gay people on the grounds of religion.

But it also delves into his less-explored actions since President Donald Trump came to power, adding: “Shortly after taking office as vice president, it became clear that the anti-LGBTQ work done by Mike Pence in Indiana was a trial run for an attempt to inflict a license to discriminate on LGBTQ people throughout the United States.”

The report alleges that Pence was behind an executive order that aimed to legalise forms of religious discrimination against LGBT people.

After the first order was leaked to the media it was spiked, but a revised version of the order was quietly issued in May 2017.

US Vice President Mike Pence (NICHOLAS KAMM/AFP/Getty)

The report adds: “Pence and the team working on making the leaked executive order look innocuous to the American public appeared to have stumbled upon an effective ruse — punt the implementation of the leaked executive order wish list to the attorney general.

“Buried in Executive Order 13798, a provision instructed Attorney General Jeff Sessions to provide direction to all agencies on ‘interpreting religious liberty protections in federal law.’

“This direction allows for a fulfilment of the original vision that is less likely to receive the same media scrutiny as the original since it will almost certainly happen in a piecemeal fashion.

“Reflecting on the signed order, Pence said, ‘I had the great privilege to stand beside President Trump as he signed an executive order to help strengthen and restore that most fundamental right from the First Amendment of the Constitution, the freedom of religion.’

“In October, Sessions complied with the executive order by issuing a memo directing all federal agencies to implement it in an extremely broad manner.”

It adds that ensuing regulations in the Department of Health and Human Services have effectively “prioritised individual providers’ beliefs over life-saving patient care.”

The report continues: “In practice, the broad reach of the rule could allow healthcare providers deny treatment for HIV and HIV prevention, hormone therapy treatment and transition related care, and fertility care for same-sex couples,
single women, or interfaith couples based on their own personal moral or religious belief.”

The report also notes Pence’s complicity in “significant cuts to domestic HIV and AIDS programs and over a billion dollars cut from funding for global HIV and AIDS programs.”

It adds: “Mike Pence has long advocated abstinence-only education as the solution to the prevention of HIV and AIDS and asserted his belief that condoms are ineffective protection against sexually-transmitted diseases.”