Karen Pence, the wife of Vice President Pence, said Tuesday that people “shouldn’t be attacked for what your religious beliefs are,” responding to recent criticisms made by South Bend, Ind., Mayor Pete Buttigieg.
Buttigieg, who is openly gay and widely expected to announce a 2020 presidential run this weekend, slammed the vice president on Sunday for opposing same-sex marriage, saying his marriage to his husband has brought him “closer to God.”
“Speaking only for myself, I can tell you that if me being gay was a choice, it was a choice that was made far, far above my pay grade,” Buttigieg said.
“And that’s the thing I wish the Mike Pences of the world would understand,” he continued. “If you’ve got a problem with who I am, your problem is not with me. Your quarrel, sir, is with my creator.”
As Indiana’s governor, Pence signed into law a “religious freedom” bill that critics said was a license to discriminate against gay people.
Pence’s anti-LGBT record also includes advocating for a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, opposing measures to protect gay men and lesbians from discrimination in the workplace, and opposing expanding the definition of hate crimes to cover offenses based on a victim’s sexual orientation or gender identity.
When Pence was running for Congress back in 2000, he supported the use of federal funding to treat people “seeking to change their sexual behavior.”
His campaign web site at the time touted his call to add the stipulation to the Ryan White Comprehensive AIDS Resources Emergency (CARE) Act, a 1990 law providing funding for HIV/AIDS treatment for patients living with the disease lacking either the income or the necessary insurance to pay for it on their own, to
The website said:
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.
Karen Pence, speaking Tuesday on The Brian Kilmeade Show on Fox Radio to promote a book she wrote with her daughter, took issue with Buttigieg’s remarks, though also noting the mayor and her husband “have always had a great relationship.”
“I think in our country we need to understand you shouldn’t be attacked for what your religious beliefs are and I think kids need to learn that at a young age that this is OK, what faith people have; we don’t attack them for their faith,” she said.
Buttigieg has also said the idea that God wanted Pence to be vice president gives God “very little credit.”
Karen Pence, who made headlines in January after announcing her decision to teach at a Christian school where students and teachers who condone homosexuality are not welcome, also said in the radio interview that Buttigieg’s comments about her husband are helping the 2020 Democratic candidate “get some notoriety.”