It hasn't been a good couple days for Indiana governor and Republican vice presidential nominee Mike Pence — after fielding fierce criticism for refusing to call former Ku Klux Klan leader David Duke "deplorable," Pence was smacked with a high-profile lawsuit.
Pence, Indiana's attorney general, and the clerk of Marion County are being sued by a 31-year-old transgender Indiana man who cannot legally change his name. The plaintiff, who was not identifed by name, was born in Mexico but came to the U.S. at age 6 and has since been granted asylum in the Hoosier State. While all his official documentation and identification lists him as male, he is currently stuck with his original birth name because of a 2010 Indiana law that requires American citizenship for a name change.
The plantiff says the discrepancy of having a name that doesn't correspond with his identity opens him up to "harassment and violence," according to reports.
"I want to use a name that is in line with my true identity," the plaintiff said, according to the Transgender Law Center, which is representing him. "Without a legal name change, I am forced to use an I.D. that is inconsistent with who I am and puts me in danger of harassment, violence, and being outed as transgender whenever I present it. I am simply asking for equal treatment under the law."
The lawsuit contends the Indiana law is unconstitutional.
Pence has been a frequent enemy of LGBT rights. He signed into law the derided "Turn Away the Gays Bill" last year, which initially allowed businesses to refuse service to LGBT people. After a global outcry, the legislation was tempered.