Mike Pence’s controversial views on homosexuality have long been a source of contention against the vice president.
He has been accused of supporting “conversion therapy”, the practise of trying to change someone’s sexual orientation using therapy or other medical means. A spokesperson told the New York Times that he did not in fact support the practise.
As Indiana governor, he also signed the Religious Freedom Restoration Act that permitted businesses to refuse service to gay and lesbian customers - citing religious freedom.
He hasn’t got a great track record with LGBT+ rights, so 18-year-old Erin Bailey decided to organise Columbus’s very first LGBT+ Pride festival – set in the vice president's home town.
Bailey told Cosmopolitan:
I was on a panel for last year's seniors and they all had really nice projects, but they just seemed... kind of small I guess.
I was just like, I want to do something really big and make a really big change.
After attending a pride festival near her town, she decided she was going to replicate it in her own. Her first challenge, which turned out not to be too much of a challenge at all, was to get permission from the city to close the roads. She said “they were really supportive of it”.
The festival is planned for 14 April, and she insists she isn’t organising the event to spite Mike Pence, but rather to celebrate other LGBT members of the community.
Since [Pence] is from here, it seems like everyone else thinks that Columbus is probably anti-LGBT, but it's not like that at all.