Indiana Gov. Mike Pence (R) was at the helm of a conservative think tank that published several anti-gay stories, Slate reported on Thursday.
During Pence’s tenure as president of the Indiana Policy Review Foundation (IPRF), the group’s journal published a piece called “Military necessity and homosexuality,” attributed to R.D. Ray, one of the organization’s senior fellows, which cited dubious studies indulging in conspiracy theories.
“The homosexuals are not as a group able-bodied,” Ray wrote in the piece, published in August 1993. “They are known to carry extremely high rates of disease brought on because of the nature of their sexual practices and the promiscuity which is a hallmark of their lifestyle.”
Ray argued that there was “no sound military reason” for allowing LGBTQ troops to serve openly, going so far as to call their sexuality a health hazard.
“Homosexuality is a grave threat to not only our nation’s health but also our national security in several ways,” he stated. “Almost all homosexuals engage in sexual practices involving degradation or humiliation rarely practiced by heterosexuals. The degrading nature of such practices constitutes the real basis of the homosexual security threat as photographs or a video of a service member or of a civilian policy-maker in such an extremely compromising position makes them vulnerable to blackmail or extortion.”
Pence left the organization in 1994. But Right Wing Watch reported that in November 1996, the IPRF published an op-ed by him complaining that Republicans were too inclusive at the GOP’s national convention that year, causing the event’s TV ratings to drop.
“An endless line of pro-choice women, AIDS activists, and proponents of Affirmative Action may have struck a cord with the Washington press corps,” he wrote. “They bombed, however, in Peoria. Add to that the systematic exclusion from prime time of social conservatives and you have the makings of a real ratings buster. Like it or not, traditional Pro-Family conservatives make up the bedrock of modern Republican electoral success.”
As Time magazine reported, even before Pence went on to support an anti-gay “religious freedom” law pushed through by Republican lawmakers in his state, he went on record with his opposition to the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy regarding LGBTQ troops.