INDIANAPOLIS – Gov. Mike Pence issued an apology Friday, saying that staffers removed comments from his official Facebook page that disputed his stance on gay marriage.
He said long-standing policy has been to delete inflammatory comments that include name-calling, vulgarity or comments personally insulting to others. A spokeswoman gave an example of someone calling Pence a bigot.
It was the governor’s understanding the comments deleted met this standard.
On careful review, it appears 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, Pence said in a statement posted to his Facebook page Friday morning.
The issue came to a head Wednesday night after several key U.S. Supreme Court rulings on gay marriage. Pence had posted a statement on his page at that time supporting a constitutional ban on same-sex marriage in Indiana.
Hoosiers immediately began protesting that their comments were being deleted, and sometimes they were even blocked from Pence’s Facebook and Twitter pages.
Some saved screen shots of their comments before they were removed.
A website – www.pencership.com – has popped up with people giving examples of their censored comments.
It speaks volumes that he wanted to mute dissent, Indiana Democratic Party Chairman John Zody said. He governs everyone, not just the folks who agree with him.
Pence has instructed his staff to review the policy and develop a standard of conduct in the days ahead that will be made available.
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, he said.