Mike Pence: What does the new US Vice President really believe?

Donald Trump and Mike Pence on the third day of the Republican National Convention (Getty)
Donald Trump and Mike Pence on the third day of the Republican National Convention (Getty)

US Vice President-elect Mike Pence is little-known in New Zealand, but unlike his boss Donald Trump, he has been a politician for 16 years.

But what does he actually believe? Here's a dozen things you might not know about the present Governor of Indiana.

In 2002 Mike Pence devoted an entire speech on his "theory of the origin of man" to the House of Representatives. He told the House, "I believe that God created the known universe, the earth and everything in it, including man."

He went on to say: "I also believe that someday scientists will come to see that only the theory of intelligent design provides even a remotely rational explanation for the known universe."

In 2002 Mr Pence penned 'A guide to renewing the America dream' on his website. In it, he wrote: "Resources should be directed toward those institutions which provide assistance to those seeking to change their sexual behaviour."

While Mr Pence once advocated for conversion techniques, there's no evidence he supported the use of electroshock therapy to 'cure' gays, as is often claimed.

Mike Pence has previously called being gay a "choice", and has said keeping gays from marrying was not discrimination, but "God's idea".

In the same 2002 guide mentioned above, he wrote: "Congress should oppose any effort to put gay and lesbian relationships on an equal legal status with heterosexual marriage."

Three years later he signed the Federal Marriage Agreement that worked to officially define marriage to be between one man and one woman.

In 2002 he told CNN: "Frankly, condoms are a very, very poor protection against sexually transmitted diseases."

Instead, he supports abstinence-only education: "We ought to be sending a message to kids across the country… that abstinence is the best choice for young people."

The first piece of legislation President Barack Obama signed upon taking office in 2009 was to protect women and minorities from wage discrimination. During its approval process, Mr Pence voted against it multiple times.

Last year as Indiana Governor said he wouldn't let any Syrian refugees settle in the state, citing security concerns after terrorist attacks like the Paris bombings.

However US District Judge Tanya Walton Pratt ruled the decision was unconstitutionally unfair to Syrians, the Indianapolis Star reports. 

Mr Pence gave the state of Indiana the biggest tax cut it's ever had, and only its second in history. The state's economic recovery since the great recession has been slow, but economists have pointed out Indiana was hit harder than most by the global financial crisis.   

Mr Pence splits with most Republicans in his push to put more money into pre-school programmes. Within a year of becoming Indiana Governor, he established a $10 million state preschool pilot programme - it was voted down by fellow Republicans, but once he got it off the ground the demand was so huge, he had to get the federal government to stump up more money for it.

The programme got Indiana off the list of only 10 states which don't spend money to help kids from poor families attend preschool.

In 2015, Mr Pence also signed into a law an Act which protects businesses from punishment if they deny services to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people when it's based on "sincerely held religious beliefs or convictions".

In 2007 he opposed raising the minimum wage, arguing it would raise unemployment levels and that it would negatively impact small businesses and family farmers. He called the move "irresponsible and unwise".

Another excerpt from Mr Pence's website: "Time for a quick reality check. Despite the hysteria from the political class and the media, smoking doesn't kill."

Although it is legal, many states have their own legislation which prevents abortion after a certain period of time.

Abortion became legal after landmark case Roe vs Wade, which Mr Pence wants "sent to the ash heap of history".

Given that stance, if Mr Pence has his way he would probably make abortion illegal, or at least refuse to fund it.

"We ought not use their taxpayer dollars to provide or promote abortion at home and abroad. Let's end taxpayer support for abortion providers, specifically Planned Parenthood, once and for all."

Although Mr Pence does not have as much power Mr Trump, if anything happened to the President-elect, this is the man who would lead the country for a year before another election would be held.


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