Tim Kaine: Donald Trump Is 'No Friend' of LGBT Community

In Human Rights Campaign address, Kaine talks his own evolution on gay marriage.

ByABC News
September 11, 2016, 4:16 AM

— -- Democratic vice presidential nominee Tim Kaine slammed Donald Trump's relationship with the LGBT community at the Human Rights Campaign's 20th annual black tie dinner last night.

"Donald Trump is no friend to this community and he’s no friend to the value of equality," Kaine told guests at the Walter E. Washington Convention Center in Washington, D.C. "Donald Trump is unqualified and temperamentally unfit to be commander-in-chief and we can’t afford to let his proposals be anywhere near the Oval Office."

HRC is dedicated to the advocacy of the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community.

Although Trump has made apparent overtures to the LGBT community at his rallies, Kaine said LGBT issues are not on the Republican presidential candidate's radar.

"Go to Donald Trump’s position page," the Virginia senator said. "Search for an LGBTQ agenda or maybe I can save you the time. There isn’t one. No mention. It’s invisible."

Kaine used Trump's recent praise of Russian president Vladimir Putin as evidence Trump would be a danger to the gay community.

"Our opponent praises Vladimir Putin, a guy who persecutes LGBTQ Russians for great leadership," Kaine said. "Great leadership. Running your economy into the ground, persecuting journalists, persecuting LGBTQ Russians, invading other nations, violating international law. Leadership? If you do not understand the difference between leadership and dictatorship you wouldn’t pass a fifth grade civics exam you’re no leader and you shouldn’t be president of the United States."

Kaine also took aim at Trump's running mate, Indiana governor Mike Pence.

"Mike Pence is a guy who believes marriage equality will cause quote a societal collapse," Kaine said. "He insulted brave LGBT soldiers protecting our freedom overseas and of course he ran a one man crusade to allow Indiana businesses acting in the public commercial sphere to discriminate against LGBTQ Americans. Yet Donald Trump saw this and decided this is the person that I want helping me govern this country."

Kaine also described his own personal journey to supporting gay marriage.

He described first having a “consciousness raising” moment about the LGBT community when he was in college at the University of Missouri, and watched gay students marching on campus get mistreated by rowdy students who threw bottles at them.

"I was changed by it. It made me angry and it made me even more convinced that I wanted to stand up and fight for what was right," Kaine said.

Kaine, a practicing Catholic, acknowledged his initial struggle to accept the idea of gay marriage.

"As a devout Catholic, for a long time while I was battling for LGBTQ equality, I believed that marriage was something different. I knew gay couples as friends in my neighborhood. I knew them to be great neighbors. I knew them to be great parents to beautiful kids and I saw them struggle with antiquated and even hostile adoption laws, but I had a difficult time reconciling that reality, what I knew to be true, from the evidence of my own life with the teachings of the faith that I had been raised in for my entire life,” Kaine said.

Kaine said he ultimately became a supporter of marriage equality when he fought the 2005 Virginia ballot initiative to define marriage as between heterosexual couples. Kaine opposed the measure, though it passed in 2006.

Today, Kaine said his support of marriage equality is "full, complete unconditional support." He predicted that Catholic doctrine, which is still at odds with gay marriage, will change.

“I think it’s going to change because my church also teaches me about a creator," Kaine said. "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."