Open Letter to Floridians by John Zody, Chairman of the Indiana Democratic Party
Warning to Floridians: Governor Mike Pence’s RFRA Brought Long-Term Damage to Indiana’s Economy & Reputation
Mike Pence is the governor of Indiana, my home state. Today, he is traveling south to Fort Lauderdale – is it just coincidence?
Your governor, Rick Scott, is expected to host a campaign fundraiser for Mike Pence while, coincidentally, the Florida Statehouse debates their own version of the Religious Freedom Restoration Act (RFRA) in the state.
You may have heard of this – it’s the bill our state legislature passed and Gov. Pence signed into law last spring. While some say it is designed to protect religious freedom, it more so allows legal discrimination to continue in Indiana against members of the LGBT community.
But the timing of Gov. Pence’s visit should be seen as no fluke – for the albatross of LGBT discrimination could bring similar carnage to the Sunshine State.
I hope some Floridians will learn from the havoc caused here in Indiana by Mike Pence and what his out-of-touch ideology has brought to the state of Indiana.
You see, it was Mike Pence’s long-term discrimination against LGBT Hoosiers, including support of controversial and unanimously disproved “ex-gay therapy”, which led to RFRA last year.
And it was Mike Pence’s RFRA that threw the state into a $250 million economic panic and put Indiana’s “Hoosier Hospitality” reputation, known throughout the nation, in jeopardy.
As RFRA continues to hurt Indiana, Mike Pence remains firm in his belief that LGBT rights and Indiana’s economy are “separate issues.”
Floridians need to be warned – Mike Pence’s RFRA or any bills similar to it could bring long-term damage to your state. It will threaten the diversity on which Florida prides itself.
Rick Scott’s fundraiser for Mike Pence is a red flag.
Not only is Gov. Scott trying to bailout Pence from a tight election year, but Pence’s visit could lead the state to deny LGBT Floridians their right to protections within their own community.
Let’s hope for the sake of Floridians, that Rick Scott doesn’t take any advice from Mike Pence on LGBT issues.
BACKGROUND INFO: A Timeline of Indiana Governor Mike Pence’s Discrimination toward the LGBT Community
2000: During his congressional campaign, Mike Pence said, “Congress should oppose any effort to put gay and lesbian relationships on an equal legal status with heterosexual marriage.”
2000: Pence also supported the reauthorization of the Ryan White Care Act only if federal dollars were excluded from organizations who “celebrate” and “encourage” behavior that facilitates spreading of the HIV virus. Further, Pence supported this reauthorization only if “those institutions provided assistance to those looking to change their sexual behavior”, an off-the-cuff endorsement for ex-gay conversion therapy.
2004: Mike Pence co-sponsored a proposed amendment to the U.S. Constitution that would define marriage as solely between one man and one woman.
2007: Pence voted against the Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA).
2010: Mike Pence voted against the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal which allowed LGBT Americans to openly serve their country in military service.
2012: Pence refused to say on the record if he supported a same-sex couple raising a child together.
2014: Gov. Pence supported HJR-3, a bill to add an amendment banning same-sex marriage to Indiana’s Constitution.
2015: Governor Pence signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act in a closed-door ceremony.
2015: Governor Pence said on ABC’s “This Week” that it was “absolutely not” a mistake to sign RFRA, throwing Indiana into a $250 million economic panic and putting Indiana’s “Hoosier Hospitality” reputation in jeopardy.
2015: Even after his approval rating plummets from RFRA, Mike Pence on July 22 told the media he is “studying” the issue of LGBT rights and whether or not he’d support across the board protections for the LGBT community.