In a review of Vice President Mike Pence‘s record on LGBT rights, an investigation by CNN’s KFile unearthed past statements where he argued that being gay was a choice.
Pence made the comments in January of 1993 after the city of Lafayette, Indiana proposed adding homosexuality to its non-discrimination ordinance. Pence argued that homosexuals don’t deserve the same protections as Blacks and Latinos because their sexuality is learned, not innate. At the time of his comments, he was president of the Indiana Policy Review Foundation, which is a conservative think tank.
“Once you identify homosexuals as a minority, then by definition they would need to be afforded constitutional protection,” Pence added. “Up to this point, our legal tradition in America has drawn a line over those things. I do not choose whether I am a black American … the great vast majority of the psychological community says homosexuality at a very minimum is a choice by the individual, and at the maximum, is a learned behavior.”
The ordinance initially failed when put to a vote, but ultimately passed 5-4 the following May. Responding to the ordinance’s passage, Pence said it was an attempt to redefine the 1964 Civil Rights Act.
“No federal agency or state agency (has) ever spoken to the question of sexual preference as a source of civil rights,” Pence said.
The KFile investigation was sparked by recent events after White House Deputy press secretary Judd Deere suggested that Pence’s lunch with Irish prime minister Leo Varadkar, who is gay, was proof that he’s not anti-gay.
In a statement to CNN, Pence’s spokesperson Darin Miller said that the Vice President “has always opposed discrimination in any form and defends the Constitution’s protection of the rights of all Americans regardless of race, sex or religion.”
Featured image via Shutterstock