Mike Pence appears with three sets of ‘anti-LGBT extremists’ in five days

The US vice president Mike Pence has been criticised for attending conferences and appearing on stage with three “anti-LGBT” groups in less than a week.

Between August 2 and August 6, Pence was at a conference organised by conservative blogger Erick Erickson, a roundtable with Donald Trump’s religious freedom ambassador Sam Brownback and a “fireside chat” with Mike Farris, CEO of anti-abortion Christian lawyers the Alliance Defending Freedom.

The Human Rights Campaign said that Pence is on an “anti-LGBTQ crusade.”

Pence with blogger who says Buttigieg needs to “repent” for being gay

On August 2, Pence appeared on stage at The Resurgent Gathering conference in Atlanta with Erick Erickson, a conservative evangelical American blogger and radio host who organised the conference.

Erickson, in a blog post on the same day, lashed out at Democratic presidential hopeful Pete Buttigieg for not “repenting” his sexuality.

Erickson, a former Fox News pundit who hosts a right-wing radio show, took aim at Buttigieg on his blog, The Resurgent.

“Pete Buttigieg is a practising homosexual who wilfully refuses to recognise Holy Scripture identifies that as a sin,” Erickson wrote.

Sam Brownback has repeatedly been homophobic and transphobic

On August 5, Pence met with Sam Brownback, Trump’s new ambassador for religious freedom – who has a history of attacking LGBT+ people, often justifying his actions through religious freedom.

Pence and Brownback were part of an International Religious Freedom roundtable, at which Pence “reaffirmed the administration’s commitment to stand with people of every faith in every country around the world.”

Brownback, who gained Pence’s tie-breaking vote to be confirmed in the Senate, repeatedly promoted homophobic and transphobic policies in his seven years as Governor of Kansas.

Alliance Defending Freedom is anti-LGBT, anti-abortion

On Tuesday (August 6), Pence then went to an event run by the Alliance Defending Freedom (ADF), an evangelical Christian group that lobbies against reproductive rights in the US.

The ADF is currently involved several anti-trans lawsuits, including in Connecticut where it has filed a federal discrimination complaint challenging the state’s policy of letting trans students compete on sports teams according to their gender identity.

In a “fireside chat,” Pence and the ADF’s CEO Mike Farris discussed Christianity, with Pence saying that Americans need to “spend more time on your knees than on the internet.”

Pence also defended his wife, who has been criticised for her decision to teach part-time at an anti-LGBT+ Christian school in Virginia.

The Immanuel Christian School in Springfield bans LGBT+ teachers and students.

“I mean, I’m incredibly proud of my wife.  She’s a great Second Lady.  She’s also a great art teacher at a Christian school here in the Washington area,” Pence said.

Referring to the criticism she received when news of her job became public, Pence said, “Karen just took it all in stride.  And I was incredibly proud of her and — but it was a remarkable thing.”

“I remember I saw one commentator on television that said, ‘Well, the Vice President should have assumed this was going to become controversial when his wife started teaching art at a Christian school.’ We honestly didn’t see that one coming.”

The Human Rights Campaign (HRC), in an email to the New Civil Right’s Movement, said, “Less than a week after appearing at an Erick Erickson sponsored conference, and a day after appearing with anti-LGBTQ extremist Sam Brownback, Mike Pence continues his anti-LGBTQ crusade with an appearance at an event organised by the anti-LGBTQ hate group the Alliance Defending Freedom.”

The HRC added that ADF “is among the most horrific of any group operating in the United States.”