Deputy White House press secretary, Judd Deere suggested VP Mike Pence couldn’t be homophobic because he had lunch with Ireland’s openly gay prime minister.
“For all of you who think our @VP is anti-gay, I point you to his and the @SecondLady’s schedule tomorrow where they will join Taoiseach @LeoVaradkar and his partner Dr Matthew Barrett for lunch in Ireland,” Deere tweeted Monday night.
LGBTIQ advocates quickly responded by saying having one meal with a gay person does not make up for the VP’s anti-gay comments and his work in undermining gay rights.
“We can’t believe we have to say this but simply meeting with a gay person doesn’t erase Pence’s long history of attacking LGBTQ people through policy, legislation, and rhetoric,” the LGBT advocacy organization GLAAD tweeted. “Nice try though.”
Through a statement The Human Rights Campaign said “it’s important to remember this lunch has nothing to do with LGBTS rights, it’s literally just with an LGBTQ person.”
Even Chasten Buttigieg, presidential candidate Pete Buttigieg’s husband, weighed in:
“I’ve sat at tables with people who would gladly deny me the right to marry, who openly support conversion therapy, and who adamantly believe being gay is a choice. Doesn’t mean they’re any less homophobic because we shared a meal,” Buttigieg said.
As governor of Indiana, Pence signed a law that would allow businesses and individuals to discriminate against people based on their sexuality – he later signed an amended version after a nationwide outcry. Pence has called same-sex marriage a sign of “societal collapse” and opposed expanding hate crimes to include sexual orientation and gender identity.