Twitter users along the parade route snapped photos of the vice president with observers who carried pro-LGBT messages against him as well as those who donned green clothing to observe the holiday.
Tracy Brisson, a Savannah-based career consultant, tweeted images of Pence waiving to the crowd as Pride flags were held up in the background.
“Yesterday, Mike Pence spent an absurd amount of taxpayer money to visit Savannah for 1 hour and a failed photo op,” Brisson wrote. “Businesses lost thousands of dollars on the biggest tourist day of the year due to security. Thanks to the protestors, we but we need accountability.”
According to the Associated Press, the reception Pence received at the parade was a mixture of support and opposition as “a few lucky fans behind sidewalk barricades got hugs or selfies and a small band of protesters followed nearby waving signs and rainbow flags.”
The AP reported Pence hit the street for nearly half-hour. As he passed the crowed, Pence ignored a group with rainbow flags and signs reading “Mike Pence Is A Homophobe” and “The Devil Went Down to Georgia,” but stopped to hug a woman next to them holding a banner saying “Team Trump Rebuild America,” the AP reported.
Pence has an extensive anti-LGBT history. As a U.S. House member, Pence backed a U.S. constitutional amendment that would have banned same-sex marriage; he also opposed hate crimes protections legislation, “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” repeal and a version of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act.
Most prominently, Pence in 2015 as Indiana governor signed a “religious freedom” bill allowing businesses and individuals to refuse services and discriminate against LGBT people. After pressure from LGBT advocates and the business community, Pence was forced to sign a “fix” to the law significantly limiting its scope.
Pence has been dogged by comments from his 2000 campaign for the U.S. House stipulating he would support HIV/AIDS funding on the condition that resources are directed to institutions that “provide assistance to those seeking to change their sexual behavior.” That has been interpreted as support for “ex-gay” conversion therapy, although Pence through a spokesperson has denied he ever supported the practice.
Chad Griffin, president of the Human Rights Campaign, commended parade onlookers for drawing attention to Pence’s anti-LGBT history on Twitter.
Well done, Savannah. Mike Pence couldn't escape his anti-LGBTQ record this weekend. https://t.co/gVsSwyCJQp
— Chad Griffin (@ChadHGriffin) March 19, 2018