Iceland was ready for United States Vice President Mike Pence to arrive this week, reportedly rolling out the rainbow carpet for the man frequently criticized for anti-LGBT stances.
Pence paid a visit to Iceland on Wednesday as part of his solo trip to Europe, taking the place of Donald Trump who said he needed to stay home to monitor Hurricane Dorian. As SFGate reported, the people of Iceland seemed to be ready for Pence's arrival and possibly planned some trolling of the vice president.
As the report noted, Pence was met with a row of rainbow flags that were just across the street from where he met with Iceland President Gudni Johannesson in the capital of Reykjavik. The flags were raised by a private technology company called Advania, whose director told the Iceland Monitor that they "just felt the need to celebrate diversity today," which happened to be the day that Pence visited.
Bloomberg reporter Justin Sink noted that Johannesson had his own, slightly more subtle trolling for Mike Pence. The Iceland president wore a rainbow bracelet as he met with Pence, the same as he did when meeting with Russia's reportedly anti-LGBT President Vladimir Putin.
Mike Pence came under fire for numerous actions and statements against the LGBT community while he was the governor of Indiana. As SFGate noted, he strongly opposed gay marriage and once said that it was a sign of "societal collapse."
The Indiana Democratic Party even compiled a list of all the actions Pence took against the LGBT community as governor, including voting against the repeal of "Don't Ask, Don't Tell" that allowed gay and lesbian people to serve in the U.S. military. The report added that he had been one of the most staunch opponents of gay marriage, including frequently speaking out against it during a 2000 congressional run.
"Congress should oppose any effort to put gay and lesbian relationships on an equal legal status with heterosexual marriage," Pence reportedly said at the time.As part of the Trump administration, Mike Pence has also been possibly part of a series of controversial actions aimed toward the LGBT community. This includes Trump's ban on transgender individuals from serving in the U.S. military. Trump's Department of Labor has also signaled it would end an Obama-era order against anti-LGBT workplace discrimination, the Washington Blade reported. As the report added, this seems to go directly against a 2017 White House statement saying that the Trump administration supports LGBT people and would keep anti-discrimination laws protecting them in place.