OPINION |Barry Richard: Pence No Advocate For Conversion Therapy
Vice President Mike Pence is being targeted by the looney left again as being a gay-hating, right-wing conservative Christian who supports conversion therapy to change gay people into straight people. Just like that. Poof.
Problem is, Pence has never said that and no one can provide proof that he has.
Liberals used this charge in the 2016 campaign to convince people that Pence is a homophobe and that Donald Trump is as well as evidenced by his selection of Pence as his running mate. To a large extent, the tactic worked as it convinced uninformed members of the LGBTQ community that Pence called for "funding conversion therapy."
The reality is that Pence, as a member of the U.S. House, voted to reauthorize the Ryan White Care Act which was the largest federally funded program in the U.S. for people living with HIV/AIDS. The act provided funding to improve the availability of care for low income, uninsured and under-insured victims of AIDS and their families.
"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 towards those institutions which provide assistance to those seeking to change their sexual behavior."
In other words, people having unprotected sexual relations. He said "sexual behavior," not sexual orientation. When the AIDS epidemic hit hard in the 1980s it appeared to be a gay man's disease as most of the victims at the time seemed to come from that community. We've since learned that AIDS is a sexually transmitted disease that can be spread through unsafe sex practices.
New cases here and worldwide are down dramatically in large part because of education, the likes of which Pence was advocating for.
Ryan White was a hemophiliac who contracted HIV/AIDS from a tainted blood transfusion. He was 13 years old when he died in 1990.
The left has a habit of using such tactics to attempt to discredit their political opponents. How repulsive is that?
Editor's Note: Barry Richard is the afternoon host on 1420 WBSM New Bedford. He can be heard weekdays from Noon-3 p.m. The opinions expressed in this commentary are solely those of the author.