Karen Pence's New Teaching Job Explicitly Bans LGBTQ Students For "Moral" Reasons
Did you wake up this morning wondering what Karen Pence was up to? Neither did I, but apparently, she's been busy. In 2019, our second lady has decided to head back into the workforce, taking a job at a Virginia school. But it's neither as wholesome nor as uncontroversial as it seems at first glance, because Karen Pence's new job explicitly bans LGBTQ students for "moral" reasons. The choice brings up a bit of déjà vu for those who've been following the Pence family's history with LGBTQ-related issues. Elite Daily reached out to the White House for further comment on Pence's new role, but did not immediately hear back.
Per The Washington Post, Pence has accepted a part-time job teaching art at the Immanuel Christian School (ICS) in Northern Virginia. While spreading the gift of art education to children is great on its own, the choice of school has come into question because it isn't exactly accepting of all students or staff. According the school's parent agreement, which is available online and was reported on by the Post, parents of ICS students must affirm that their lifestyle is on par with the "moral principles" of the school. According to the agreement, those principles condemn "participating in, supporting, or condoning sexual immorality, homosexual activity or bi-sexual activity." The parents must also affirm that a "healthy marriage" is between a man and a woman. Elite Daily reached out to ICS for confirmation of and further comment on the guidelines of its parent agreement, but did not immediately hear back.
In addition to the parent agreement, the school's 2018 employment agreement requires incoming teachers and support staff to make a pledge of their own to a "life of moral purity." The agreement includes a laundry list of boxes that incoming staff must agree to. Number eight reportedly says the staff must affirm that marriage is between "one man and one woman," and must pledge to maintain a lifestyle that's in line with the school code of "moral conduct" — which bans behaviors like "homosexual or lesbian sexual activity, polygamy," and "transgender identity." Elite Daily reached out to ICS for comment on whether or not Pence signed the employment agreement, but did not immediately hear back. A stipulation of the agreement, as reported by The Post and available online reads,
I will maintain a lifestyle based on biblical standards of moral conduct. Moral misconduct which violates the bona fide occupational qualifications for employees includes, but is not limited to, such behaviors as the following: heterosexual activity outside of marriage (e.g., premarital sex, cohabitation, extramarital sex), homosexual or lesbian sexual activity, polygamy, transgender identity, any other violation of the unique roles of male and female, sexual harassment, use or viewing of pornographic material or websites, and sexual abuse or improprieties toward minors as defined by Scripture and federal or state law.
LGBTQ+ activists have already called the second lady out on her choice of school. In a Jan. 15 statement to HuffPost, JoDee Winterhof, senior vice president for policy and political affairs at the Human Rights Campaign, asked, "Why not teach at a school that welcomes everyone, instead of choosing one that won’t serve LGBTQ kids, kids of LGBTQ parents?”
Pence's decision to reclaim her post at ICS — she previously worked there for 12 years while her husband Vice President Mike Pence was in Congress — isn't the only time the Pences have been in the spotlight for seemingly controversial opinions surrounding the LGBTQ+ community. According to HuffPost, in a 2006 speech on the House floor in support of a constitutional amendment to define marriage as between a man and a woman, Vice President Pence, then a congressperson, said gay couples signal a "societal collapse." Then in 2007, Vice President Pence voted against the Employment Non-Discrimination Act that would ban discrimination based on sexual orientation in the workplace. The vice president said the act “wages war on freedom and religion in the workplace," according to TIME. The White House did not immediately respond to Elite Daily's request for comment on the subject. More recently, in 2010, then-Representative Pence was against the Obama administration rolling back the Don't Ask, Don't Tell (DADT) policy, which barred LGBTQ+ members of the military from openly discussing their orientation or engaging in sexual activity, leaving them at risk of being discharged if their sexual or gender orientation was discovered. DADT was eventually repealed by President Barack Obama in 2011.
The Pence family hasn't always been the most open when it comes to accepting and appreciating the LGBTQ+ community, and the ICS choice probably won't do much to help the situation.