This evening is the vice presidential debate between Tim Kaine and Mike Pence. Mike Pence, as we learned yesterday, is anti-choice, anti-LGBT, pro-discrimination, and misinformed about Common Core. Today, let’s take a closer look at Tim Kaine.

Tim Kaine is the former governor of Virginia (2006-2010), now serving as Virginia’s junior senator. Prior to that, Kaine was an attorney specializing in fair housing, and representing clients who were discriminated against based on their race or disability. Kaine’s father-in-law, former Republican governor Linwood Holton, was “frozen out of politics after he lead the way to school desegregation in the Commonwealth. As governor, he not only decided not to appeal a court order to desegregate, he sent his children to the predominantly African-American public schools in the center of Richmond.” (source)

Senator Kaine was raised Catholic, and continues to practice his faith. He has had to reconcile his religious beliefs with politics when it comes to abortion and the death penalty.  He considers abortion the taking of a life, but has stated he would never impose that opinion onto women. Much like Joe Biden, Tim Kaine understands the separation of church and state, and will support Hillary Clinton if she is elected in her goal to overturn the Hyde Amendment.

Tim Kaine has evolved on marriage equality over the past decade, breaking with Catholic doctrine, as many Catholics have. He now supports the right for same-sex couples to marry, and is a strong proponent of furthering the rights of the LGBT community. During a speech last month at the HRC dinner, Kaine said he believes the Catholic Church will eventually change its views on marriage equality:

My support for marriage equality now — my full, complete, unconditional support for marriage equality — is at odds with the current doctrine of the church that I still attend.

But I think that’s going to change, too … And I think it’s going to change because my church also teaches me about a creator in the first chapter of Genesis who surveys the entire world including mankind and said it is very good, it is very good.

Pope Francis famously said, ‘who am I to judge?’ And to that I want to add: Who am I to challenge God for the beautiful diversity of the human family? I think we’re supposed to celebrate it, not challenge it.

When it comes to guns, and the NRA, Senator Kaine is very vocal, and aligns with Hillary Clinton on sane gun legislation, expanded background checks, and doing everything possible to curb the tide of gun violence in this country. He has an “F” rating from the NRA, vetoed a bill as governor that would have allowed Virginians to carry guns in their cars, and last year, introduced a bill to hold gun dealers liable for selling guns to people who are prohibited from owning firearms.

Senator Kaine also supported ENDA, and as governor of Virginia, signed an executive order banning discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Kaine was one of the signers of a brief to the Supreme Court, calling DOMA unconstitutional. He supports a woman’s right to choose, equal pay, and cosponsored the reauthorization of VAWA.

Unlike his opponent Mike Pence, Tim Kaine is a man who has fought against hate and racism his entire career. He supports equality, fair pay, fair housing, and does not believe anyone should have the right to discriminate against another person. Kaine agrees that climate change is real, voted against the Keystone Pipeline, and has a lifetime score of 91% from the League of Conservation Voters.

While tonight’s vice presidential debate will most likely not attract 80 million viewers, it is important to watch. We need to learn about our candidates for vice president, and how they will work with our next president to help the middle class, the LGBT community, our kids, women, the disabled, and our veterans. How they will govern over everyone, not just a chosen few. How they will react under pressure, how they will interact with foreign leaders. And can Mike Pence keep Donald Trump off Twitter at 3 AM?

You can watch the debate on You Tube, or check your local listings.


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