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to Section One | to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, September 6, 2019 - Volume 47 Issue 36
Iceland greets VP Mike Pence with rainbow flags
Section One
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Iceland greets VP Mike Pence with rainbow flags

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

US Vice President Mike Pence was greeted by a sea of rainbow flags when he visited Iceland on September 4.

Pence, known for his anti-LGBT politics as well as his subservience to Donald Trump, found businesses all over Reykjavík, Iceland's capital city, flying the rainbow Pride flags.

The Icelandic tech company Advania, which flew the flag from its HQ next to Höfði House (the location of a famous summit between Ronald Reagan and Mikhail Gorbachev), explained to the Reykjavik Grapevine newspaper, 'This wasn't a decision made by any one person. Rather, we decided as a group that today would be a good day to celebrate diversity.'

'Here's a great example of why I'm proud to be from Iceland. Mike Pence is visiting the country, and everyone is outraged,' Icelandic drag queen Heklina said.

'The mayor of Reykjavík, all the biggest firms and companies, everyone, they're all flying the gay flag. All Pence will see everywhere on his visit is gay, gay, gay.'

Iceland is one of the most LGBT-positive countries, having introduced same-sex marriage in 2010 under former Prime Minister Jóhanna Sigurðardóttir, who was the world's first openly Lesbian head of government.

In contrast, Pence has a thoroughly anti-LGBT record and is known to be close to religiously affiliated anti-LGBT hate groups.

A 2018 report charged that Pence played a pivotal role in actions taken by the Trump administration to dismantle civil rights protections for LGBT people. In 2000, when he was running for Congress, Pence promised to 'oppose any effort to recognize homosexuals as a 'discrete and insular minority' entitled to the protection of anti-discrimination laws similar to those extended to women and ethnic minorities.'

Once elected, he made good on his promise. In 2007, Pence voted against the Employment Nondiscrimination Act, which would have banned workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation.

Pence also opposed the 2009 Matthew Shepard Hate Crimes Act, saying that Barack Obama wanted to 'advance a radical social agenda' under which pastors 'could be charged or be subject to intimidation for simply expressing a biblical worldview on the issue of homosexual behavior.'

The vice president's wife, Karen Pence, also teaches at a school that excludes Gay children and parents.

White House deputy press secretary Judd Deere claimed earlier this week that Mike Pence isn't 'anti-gay' because he had lunch with Gay Irish leader Leo Varadkar and his partner.

The HRC responded with this tweet: 'We've all shared a meal with people we fundamentally disagree with out of obligation. One word: Thanksgiving. This lunch has nothing to do with LGBTQ rights; it's literally just with an LGBTQ person.'

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HRC and CNN team up for town hall on LGBT issues with Democratic presidential candidates
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GLAAD joins One Iowa, The Gazette, and The Advocate as national partner for Presidential Candidate Forum on LGBTQ issues
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Iceland greets VP Mike Pence with rainbow flags
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