Hundreds attend first-ever LGBT pride festival in Mike Pence's hometown


Mike Pence's hometown turned out to show that his anti-LGBT bigotry is not welcome there.

Hundreds of people took to the streets Saturday for the first-ever LGBT pride festival in Columbus, Indiana — the hometown of Mike Pence, whose political career continues to be defined by his animosity towards the LGBT community.

The festival was organized by Erin Bailey, a high school senior at Columbus Signature Academy, who said she wants the world to know that Pence’s views don’t represent the town as a whole.

"I'm doing this project in order to support the members of the LGBT community in Columbus," Bailey said. "I'm not doing this for him, it's for members of the community."

Less than 20 years ago, a thousand Columbus residents rallied in the streets in opposition to a local company's decision to offer benefits to same-sex companies.

But a lot has changed since then.

On Saturday, as many as a thousand people attended the town's first pride festival, which featured "face painting, rainbow S’mores on a stick, and drag performances."

Among those not in attendance was Pence, who has a long and well documented history of taking extreme anti-LGBT positions.

Over the years, Pence has supported a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, opposed legislation prohibiting discrimination against LGBT people in the workplace, co-sponsored a constitutional amendment that would define marriage as solely between one man and one woman, opposed expanding the definition of hate crimes to include offenses based on sexual orientation or gender identity, and signed a law designed to let businesses discriminate against LGBTQ customers.

Perhaps most controversially, Pence has argued that federal funding for HIV/AIDS treatment should be diverted to unscientific and inhumane conversion “therapy” programs, even displaying his support for the cruel procedure in a statement on his 2000 campaign website.

While Trump may have welcomed Pence's hate into the White House, his views don't represent those of most Americans — and on Saturday, his hometown showed that his anti-LGBT bigotry has no place there, either.