Former US vice president Mike Pence has launched a list of policy suggestions ahead of the midterms and of course, plenty of them are anti-LGBT+.
Pence recently published his “Freedom Agenda” – his blueprint for Republicans to win future elections, which reads like a prelude to a 2024 run.
It’s essentially a Republican bingo card, with everything from pulling taxpayer funding for abortions to banning “anti-American, racist ideologies like Critical Race Theory” in schools.
Tightening border controls was also top of the list. And guns. A lot on guns, as well as stopping the government from “interfering with our First Amendment right to free exercise of religion”.
On women’s sports, Pence said that athletes should compete for their “God-given gender” to “preserve and protect female athletic competition”.
He also believes that doctors should be free to refuse to provide gender-affirming healthcare.
Pence wants Republican candidates to fight for faith-based adoption and foster agencies to have the right to discriminate LGBT+ couples.
“End the assault on faith-based adoption and foster care agencies that will only place children into families with one male father and one female mother,” the plan states.
Appearing on Fox News Digital, Pence said: “Elections are about the future, and frankly the opposition would love nothing more for conservatives to talk about the past or to talk of the mess they’ve made in the present.”
“I think it’s of equal importance we focus on conservatives at every level.”
Pence’s plan comes as conservative state legislators in dozens of states are proposing or passing laws targeting the trans community, many prohibiting trans youth from participating in girls’ sports.
Mike Pence speaks during the Advancing Freedom Lecture Series at Stanford University with a speech on ‘How to Save America From the Woke Left’. (Justin Sullivan/Getty Images)
Just four months into 2022, more than half of US states have already sought to introduce anti-trans sports bills, according to legislative trackers.
Speaking of problems that don’t exist, Pence also urged Republican candidates to campaign to “make in-person voting the primary method of voting”, following Trump’s baseless and debunked claims of mail-in voter fraud in 2020.
Forcing voters to bring identification with them to vote is another one of Pence’s bright policy ideas. Voter identification laws, voting rights advocates say, deprive countless Americans of the chance to vote.
Researchers have found that more disadvantaged groups are less likely to have ID, while one in 10 US citizens have no ID at all.
A 2018 report revealed that Pence played a pivotal role in dismantling civil rights protections for LGBT+ people during the Trump years, alleging that Pence was behind an executive order that aimed to legalise forms of religious discrimination against queer people.
The order bore a startling similarity to a bill Pence signed as Indiana governor in 2015 that allowed faith-based businesses to discriminate against LGBT+ customers.