California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom joined in the chorus of attacks on Donald Trump’s choice for running mate during a speech at the Democratic National Convention this week.
Newsom, a prominent LGBTQ rights supporter, said Republican Indiana Gov. Mike Pence "advocated for diverting taxpayer dollars to so-called conversion therapy."
Conversion therapy is a controversial practice that seeks to change a person’s sexual orientation from gay to straight. It’s banned in five states including California, Oregon, Illinois, Vermont and New Jersey.
When asked about the claim, Newsom’s spokesman pointed to Pence’s own words. During his first successful run for Congress in 2000, Pence wrote on his campaign website, under a section called Strengthening the American Family:
"Resources should be directed toward those institutions which provide assistance to those seeking to change their sexual behavior."
Also on the website, Pence wrote: "Congress should oppose any effort to put gay and lesbian relationships on an equal legal status with heterosexual marriage." And "Congress should oppose any effort to recognize homosexual’s [sic] as a 'discreet [sic] and insular minority' entitled to the protection of anti-discrimination laws similar to those extended to women and ethnic minorities."
Our research found no evidence Pence has walked back his stance on public funding for conversion therapy. His spokesman did not respond with information about Pence’s current position.
Vice presidential nominee Mike Pence speaks at the Republican National Convention. Ben Adler / Capital Public Radio
As reported by McClatchy DC, the Indiana governor continues to be at the center of gay rights controversy: "Pence angered gay rights groups (in 2015) when he signed a religious freedom bill that opponents said would allow businesses to discriminate against customers based on their sexual orientation. Pence later backtracked, when state lawmakers changed the law to say that no discrimination would be allowed."
At the Republican National Convention last week, the McClatchy news service noted: "delegates voted to approve a platform that backs the right of parents to determine the proper medical treatment and therapy for their minor children. The platform makes no specific mention of gay conversion therapy, but critics say that passage is aimed at accepting the notion that one’s sexual orientation can be changed."
California Lt. Gov. Gavin Newsom said Indiana Governor and Republican Vice Presidential candidate Mike Pence "advocated for diverting taxpayer dollars to so-called conversion therapy."
Pence’s own words on his campaign website from 2000 make his stance, at least at the time, very clear: "Resources should be directed toward those institutions which provide assistance to those seeking to change their sexual behavior."
It’s unknown if Pence has changed his position on the issue. But he continues to be at the center of gay rights controversy. And the Republican National Convention last week backed a platform that critics say does little to block the controversial practice.
We rate Newsom’s claim True.
TRUE – The statement is accurate and there's nothing significant missing.
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