Mitt Romney spokesperson Eric Fehrnstrom is disavowing the now-infamous Gay Pride flyers the governor allegedly distributed to the gay and lesbian community during his 2002 campaign for the governor’s office in Massachusetts, claiming that the brochures were not created by the campaign:
Eric Fehrnstrom, Romney’s chief spokesman, tells the HuffPost that flyers claiming Mitt Romney supports Gay Pride that read “All citizens deserve equal rights, regardless of their sexual preference” were not created by Romney during his 2002 run for Governor.
“I don’t know where those pink flyers came from. I was the communications director on the 2002 campaign. I don’t know who distributed them … I never saw them and I was the communications director,” Fehrnstrom said in the spin room after Sunday morning’s GOP presidential debate here. Fehrnstrom said he had no idea who had distributed the flyers. “I never saw them and I never approved them. I’m not quite sure where they came from.”
The flyers do conform with Romney’s more inclusive message to gay and lesbian voters during his 1994 unsuccessful run for the Senate and his governorship: in both campaigns, Romney maintained that while he does not support same-sex marriage, he believes that all state residents should be treated equally under existing law. “As a result of our discussions and other interactions with gay and lesbian voters across the state, I am more convinced than ever that as we seek to establish full equality for America’s gay and lesbian citizens,” Romney told the Log Cabin Republicans in 1994, who endorsed him in his bid for the state house.
Governor Romney fought the Massachusetts Supreme Court’s 2003 decision bringing same-sex marriage to the state, but also “urged more than a dozen Republican lawmakers to support the compromise version” of a proposed constitutional amendment banning marriage equality “which included strong civil unions language.” In 2005, he admitted that he would back civil unions under certain circumstances — “If the question is: Do you support gay marriage or civil unions? I’d say neither. If they said you have to have one or the other, that Massachusetts is going to have one or the other, then I’d rather have civil unions than gay marriage,” he said. “But I’d rather have neither.” [Associated Press, 2/23/2005]
As a presidential candidate, however, Romney has sought to appeal to the GOP’s more conservative base, promising to institute a complicated three-tier system for married gay couples and signing a pledge from the anti-gay National Organization for Marriage (NOM).
BuzzFeed’s Andrew Kaczynski notes: “The Manhattan Institute’s Josh Barro told BuzzFeed he was a college intern for Romney’s campaign at the wage of $150 per month and the task of answering mail to Romney’s running mate, Kerry Healey. “On pride weekend, the campaign sent a contingent of about a half-dozen of us to the post-parade festival on Boston Common to hand out those flyers,” he said in an email. “The thing was organized by a full-time staffer,” he said, adding that he couldn’t recall her name.