INDIANAPOLIS | Gov. Mike Pence has confirmed his staff deleted from his official Facebook page comments from Hoosiers opposing the Republican's call to add Indiana's ban on gay marriage to the state constitution.
After claiming Thursday only "abusive" comments were deleted, Pence admitted in a Facebook posting Friday that additional comments were removed for disagreeing with his policy position.
"I regret that this occurred and sincerely apologize to all those who were affected," Pence said.
The first-year governor added that, "In agreement or disagreement, I respect the opinions and the freedoms of all the people of Indiana."
He vowed to develop a Facebook policy that preserves open debate.
Pence's initial claim that only uncivil and name-calling comments were removed fell apart after a website dubbed "Pencership" posted screen images of the governor's Facebook page showing that comments critical of Pence's anti-gay marriage stance also were scrubbed.
The site appears to be the product of Andy Markle, an Indianapolis web designer. He mocked Pence's comment-scrubbing attempt by subtitling his site, "When Indiana's governor thought he could censor the web."
Hoosier Democrats pounced on the revelations to advise that "perhaps someone should let Gov. Pence know he's supposed to govern — and listen to — everyone."
This is the second controversial incident in the past week involving social media and Republican statewide officeholders.
As first reported by The Times, a staffer for Secretary of State Connie Lawson likely violated state ethics rules June 21 by using Lawson's official Twitter account to promote her 2014 campaign.