Responding to this week’s Supreme Court decision overturning the Defense of Marriage Act, Indiana Gov. Mike Pence (R) recommitted the state to passing a constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. Individuals who offered pro-equality counter-responses to his Facebook post started noticing that their comments were being deleted. On Thursday, Pence defended deleting the many hundred comments, claiming they were all “uncivil.”
Now, Pence has admitted that not all the comments were uncivil — many just expressed disagreement — and he has apologized for all the deleting his staff did on the page:
Our longstanding policy, on this and other social media sites, has been to delete inflammatory comments that include name-calling, vulgarity or comments personally insulting to others. It was my understanding that the comments which were deleted all met this standard.
On careful review, it appear that this was not always the case and some comments were being deleted simply because they expressed disagreement with my position. I regret that this occurred and sincerely apologize to all those who were affected. [...]
Hoosiers expect our public debate to be open and respectful and we will ever seek to live up to that standard. In agreement or disagreement, I respect the opinions and the freedoms of all the people of Indiana.
If the comments on his apology are any indication, the updated policy has already taken effect.
The Indiana legislature completed the first step of amending the constitution to prohibit same-sex marriage, granting first passage to the measure back in 2011. It must pass again during this, the second consecutive session of the legislature, but Republican state lawmakers decided to delay that vote until next year while they awaited the Supreme Court’s decisions, which could have invalidated all state bans on same-sex marriage. Now unswayed by the Court’s narrow nod to equality, lawmakers have committed to following Pence’s lead and pursuing the amendment again next year.