"But let me say on this issue, if we got to know each other, you'd know the Pences love everybody," Pence continued. "We treat everybody the way we want to be treated. But on this issue, and it's frankly something that when the Obergefell decision was made which legalized same-sex marriage in America, the Supreme Court, Justice Kennedy wrote at the end, that this decision will likely create an intersection and tension between people in same-sex relationships and people in the exercise of their religious liberty."
Pence said it was important to go back to the country's "first principles" of religious freedom, noting the limitations on the government regarding the creation of laws that restrict the free practice of a person's religion.
"Look, I believe marriage is between a man and a woman, I believe in traditional marriage, and I believe marriage was ordained by God and instituted in the law, but we live in a pluralistic society, and the way we go forward, and the way we come together as a country united, I believe, is when we respect: Your right to believe and my right to believe what we believe," Pence said.
Some students objected to Pence's appearance on campus, which was organized by the Young America's Foundation, a conservative student organization.
"We say that we foster an environment where everybody is welcome, all students here belong, and then we bring somebody here so vocally against LGBTQ rights," Tess Saadvandi told local NBC affiliate WVIR.
Others did not share Saadvandi's opinion. Cassie Lipton said that while she strongly dislikes Pence, she believes his voice should be heard.
"If there's an audience for Mike Pence talking about how to save America from the woke left, as dumb as I kind of find that, I think there should be a place for that at UVA," she told WVIR.
In his appearance, the former vice president also didn't mince his transphobia on the topic of trans woman swimmer Lia Thomas's recent NCAA Division I championship victory over University of Virginia swimmer Emma Weyant who came in second place. One student lamented Weyant "was robbed" of the victory and asked Pence for his opinion.
"Thank you so much for that thoughtful question. Emma Weyant won that race," Pence said.