A few residents in Aspen, Colorado, decided to send Vice President Mike Pence a message in the form of a rainbow banner that reads “Make America Gay Again.” The banner was posted on a stone pillar near the home where Pence and his wife, Karen Sue, are currently enjoying their vacation.
According to the Aspen Times, Pence’s next door neighbors are responsible for draping the banner at the end of the driveway that both homes share.
Speaking with the local news station, Pitkin County Sheriff Joe DiSalvo said that the Secret Service didn’t stop them from hanging the banner nor did they have a problem with it.
“He was real sheepish and thought they might be confronted by the Secret Service or deputies who’d tell them they couldn’t do it,” DiSalvo was quoted as saying. “When they said, ‘We’re not here to control your free speech rights,’ the neighbors came out with chili and began feeding them.”
It was initially thought that the man who lives in the home was the one who hung the banner. However, the Aspen Times received an email clarifying that it was actually hung by the daughters of the couple who live in the home, and one of their girlfriends with the “full support of their parents.”
— Aspen Times (@TheAspenTimes) December 29, 2017
While Pence has yet to speak on the issue, DiSalvo said he fully supports anyone exercising their First Amendment rights and reportedly told the publication that Aspen residents have a history of expressing their opinions to powerful people who visit the area. Pence and his wife are visiting near the Snowmass Village area and are scheduled to depart on Monday.
Pence is a self-proclaimed Christian conservative who has long held anti-LGBTQ views. He has previously said that being gay is a choice and as governor of Indiana, attempted to amend the state’s constitution to ban same-sex marriages in 2014.
The LGBTQ community has previously voiced their dislike for the former Indiana governor and he received tremendous backlash last year when he signed a religious freedom law that some said could worsen discrimination against them. In the past, Pence opposed the repeal of the “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy and he sparked controversy in 2006 when he said gay couples signaled “societal collapse.” Pence also rose in support of a constitutional amendment that would have defined marriage as between a man and a woman, TIME reports.