Mike Pence can't be 'anti-gay' because he was at a lunch with the Irish prime minister's boyfriend, White House spokesman says

Sinéad Baker
Leo Varadkar Mike Pence
Leo Varadkar Mike Pence

PAUL FAITH / AFP

  • US Vice President Mike Pence is not "anti-gay," a White House spokesman claimed Tuesday, citing the fact that he was present at a lunch that day with a gay people.

  • Pence ate at a large gathering in Dublin on Tuesday with Ireland's leader, Leo Varadkar, and Varadkar's boyfriend Matthew Barrett.

  • Judd Deere, the White House deputy press secretary, tweeted that "all of you who still think our @VP is anti-gay" should look at the state visit schedule listing the lunch.

  • Pence has previously expressed opposition to same-sex marriage and, as a member of Congress, voted against protections from discrimination for LGBT people.

  • Varadkar previously brought Barrett to the US, and gave a speech in front of Pence in which he said he was grateful not to be judged for his sexual orientation.

  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

US Vice President Mike Pence cannot be "anti-gay" because he want to a lunch with the Irish prime minister and his boyfriend while on an official state visit to the country, a White House spokesman claimed.

Judd Deere, the White House deputy press secretary and a special assistant to US President Donald Trump, tweeted: "For all of you who still think our @VP is anti-gay, I point you to his and the @SecondLady's schedule tomorrow where they will join Taoiseach @LeoVaradkar and his partner Dr. Matthew Barrett for lunch in Ireland.

 

Tweet Embed:
//twitter.com/mims/statuses/1168679549275652097?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw
For all of you who still think our @VP is anti-gay, I point you to his and the @SecondLady's schedule tomorrow where they will join Taoiseach @LeoVaradkar and his partner Dr. Matthew Barrett for lunch in Ireland. 🇮🇪 @merrionstreet pic.twitter.com/Cj5kMpln0U

The lunch on Tuesday was part of Pence's official visit to Ireland, of which Tuesday is the second and final day. The official schedule describes an event in which "the vice president and the second lady have lunch with Taoiseach Leo Varadkar and Dr. Matthew Barrett."

Taoiseach is a word in the Irish language that means "chieftain" or "leader."

Mike Pence Leo Varadkar
Mike Pence Leo Varadkar

Charles McQuillan - Pool/Getty Images

Pence, a conservative Christian, has voiced deep opposition to same-sex marriage, and once said on the floor of the US House of Representatives: "Societal collapse was always brought about following an advent of the deterioration of marriage and family."

As a member of Congress, Pence also voted against protections for LGBT people against discrimination and voted against the repeal of "don't ask, don't tell" US military policy.

Varadkar also brought his partner, Dr Matthew Barrett, to meet Pence on his state visit to the Washington DC in March, where many online were quick to point out Pence's past statements.

Read more: The Irish prime minister brought his boyfriend to meet Vice President Mike Pence

And Varadkar also gave a speech in front of Pence, in which he said that people should not be judged by their sexual orientation.

He said: "I stand here leader of my country, flawed and human but judged by my political actions and not by my sexual orientation, my skin tone, gender or religious beliefs."

"I don't believe my country is the only one in the world where this story is possible."

Mike Pence Leo Varadkar
Mike Pence Leo Varadkar

PAUL FAITH/AFP/Getty Images

Varadkar also said in 2018 that he raised the issue of LGBT rights with Pence in a closed-door meeting.

The Irish leader has also repeatedly emphasised a positive relationship between the two, and tweeted on Tuesday that it was "a pleasure to welcome Vice President Mike Pence and his wife Karen to Ireland."

Tweet Embed:
//twitter.com/mims/statuses/1168844721445384192?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw
It's a pleasure to welcome Vice President Mike Pence and his wife Karen to Ireland. pic.twitter.com/RZJHPujnfA

The tweet from Deere, who is also gay, was met with heavy criticism on Twitter, where people pointed out that the group was meeting for an official event which Pence was attending as part of his job.

Tweet Embed:
//twitter.com/mims/statuses/1168817915107217408?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw
We don't "think" it, we know it.

Just because he meets with an elected head of state, doesn't mean he hasn't bashed Gays his entire career.

We are just not as stupid as you think.

Ireland's branch of the human rights charity Amnesty International also responded to Deere, tagging Pence repeatedly writing "Your policies still discriminate."

Tweet Embed:
//twitter.com/mims/statuses/1168816111799930880?ref_src=twsrc%5Etfw
.@VP

Your policies still discriminate
Your policies still discriminate
Your policies still discriminate
Your policies still discriminate

On the trip, Varadkar and Pence have been discussing the relationship between the US and Ireland as well as the impact that the UK's departure from the EU will have on Ireland. 

Read more: Mike Pence is staying at a Trump resort in Ireland — despite it being more than 100 miles away from his meetings in Dublin

Pence also met with Irish President Michael D Higgins, where they were expected to talk about human rights and equality issues.

Michael D Higgins Mike Pence
Michael D Higgins Mike Pence

Liam McBurney/PA Images via Getty Images

Pence has come under fire for staying at Trump's golf club during the trip even though it is on the other side of the country to Dublin, where his meetings are scheduled.

NOW WATCH: How to properly fold the American flag, according to presidential candidate Rep. Seth Moulton