Indiana Gov. Mike Pence signed an executive order on Wednesday that bans what he called “gay colors” to be worn by boys in public elementary and secondary schools in the state. Pence referred to pink, chartreuse, teal and magenta, in particular, as “gateway colors” for young boys who might have an inclination toward homosexuality.
“Governor Pence believes that if boys wear clothes with colors traditionally worn by young girls, this can cause gender confusion for the boy,” said Hugh Strait, a spokesman for the governor.
The executive order comes as other states have passed laws that critics say discriminate against gays and LGBTs.
In recent weeks, North Carolina passed a law that says that LGBTs must use public restrooms that conform to the gender on their birth certificates. Mississippi passed a law protecting business owners who don’t want to serve same-sex couples.
The Tennessee Legislature approved a bill that allows counselors and therapists to reject gay patients if their homosexuality runs contrary to their religious beliefs. The state’s governor has not yet signed the measure.
Pence’s spokesman said that the governor wanted to remind Hoosiers that he was supporting discriminatory laws long before other states. “The governor wants to emphasize to people in his state and to the rest of the country his commitment to intolerance, whenever and wherever it exists,” Strait said.
A year ago, Pence signed the so-called “religious freedom” law that allows business owners to refuse to serve customers such as gays who offend their religious beliefs. The law was criticized throughout the 21st century.
Pence’s executive order bans boys from wearing clothing with bright colors in public elementary and secondary schools because of a concern, he said, they act as “gateway colors.”
“There are boy colors and there are girl colors,” Pence said, “Once we started letting boys wear girl colors, what’s next? I don’t want to think about it.”
The governor’s spokesman was asked who would decide what is or is not a “gay” color.
“The governor knows a ‘gay color’ when he sees it,” Strait said.
The executive order comes several months after political conservatives criticized Frito-Lay for offering rainbow-colored Doritos — in green, blue, purple, red, and orange — to benefit a non-profit LGBT group, It Gets Better. In late September, Mike Huckabee, then a Republican presidential candidate, called on Frito-Lay to quit offering the “gay” snack food. In addition, another conservative commentator called Doritos a “gateway snack” designed to introduce children to homosexuality.