"Discrimination Today, Discrimination Tomorrow, Discrimination Forever"
Mitt Romney’s Extreme Anti-Gay Agenda
Following yesterday’s historic endorsement of marriage equality by President Obama, Mitt Romney wasted no time in reminding Americans that he believes that LGBT relationships must be both separate and unequal. Romney reiterated his longstanding opposition to both marriage and civil unions:
“Well, when these issues were raised in my state of Massachusetts, I indicated my view, which is I do not favor marriage between people of the same gender, and I do not favor civil unions if they are identical to marriage other than by name.”
This position puts him to the right of even George W. Bush, who famously used anti-gay sentiment to whip up conservative votes for his 2004 re-election. But Romney’s opposition to legal recognition for gay relationships doesn’t end at merely stopping progress, he also supports permanently enshrining discrimination in our Constitution in the form of a constitutional amendment defining marriage as between one man and one women. Ed Gillespie, a senior adviser to Romney’s campaign and one of the architects of Bush’s 2004 gay-baiting strategy, said this morning that Romney would make a constitutional ban on marriage equality a key issue in the campaign:
Would Let States Discriminate Too
Beyond marriage equality, Romney’s record on basic equality for LGBT people is also troubling. He opposes federal rules that require hospitals to allow visitation rights for gay partners and he thinks we should just let the states decide if it’s OK to fire people just for being gay (which 29 states have decided is just fine).
“Perverse and Reprehensible”
Looking further back into his record reveals even more problems. In 1994, while serving in a leadership position in the Mormon Church, Romney called homosexuality “reprehensible” and “perverse”:
Speaking last fall to a Mormon Church gathering, Mitt Romney, then on the verge of launching a bid for a US Senate seat, expressed dismay at reports of homosexual behavior in the group and denounced homosexuality as “perverse,” according to several people present at the meeting.
Romney’s alleged comments on homosexual practices were part of a 20-minute address he delivered on November 14 to the Cambridge University Ward, which numbers about 250 to 300 single Mormons.
“He said he was appalled at the incidence of homosexuals in the congregation,” said Rick Rawlins, a 32-year-old Mormon who had previously served as a counselor to the ward’s bishop. “He went on to say that he found homosexuality both perverse and reprehensible.”
High School Bully
And just today, the Washington Post revealed that during his years at an elite prep school, Romney taunted one fellow student who was perceived to be gay and “vicious[ly]” assaulted another:
John Lauber, a soft-spoken new student one year behind Romney, was perpetually teased for his nonconformity and presumed homosexuality. Now he was walking around the all-boys school with bleached-blond hair that draped over one eye, and Romney wasn’t having it. […]
A few days later, Friedemann entered Stevens Hall off the school’s collegiate quad to find Romney marching out of his own room ahead of a prep school posse shouting about their plan to cut Lauber’s hair. Friedemann followed them to a nearby room where they came upon Lauber, tackled him and pinned him to the ground. As Lauber, his eyes filling with tears, screamed for help, Romney repeatedly clipped his hair with a pair of scissors.
When it came to the nation’s highest profile showdown over marriage equality — California’s Proposition 8, Romney not only supported it he used some of his vast personal wealth to fund the race-baiting National Organization for Marriage’s campaign in support of Prop 8. He has also personally funded other anti-gay groups that promote harmful “pray away the gay” therapy.
Captive to the GOP Fringe
More recently, of course, Romney and his campaign stood silently by while the social conservative fringe of the GOP viciously attacked his openly gay and pro-marriage equality foreign policy spokesman. Not only did they not defend the spokesman, they decided to silence him in hopes quieting the attacks. All of this eventually led to the spokesman to quit the campaign.
Out on a Limb
Interestingly, some of Romney’s fellow Republicans seem to understand that making the Republican Party’s open intolerance of gays a key issue in the campaign is unlikely to do them any favors with the American public. This morning, House Speaker John Boehner (R-OH) dodged several questions on marriage in general, and Gillespie’s comments in particular. “A Romney adviser said this morning that they plan to make gay marriage a campaign issue and that they’re also going to push for a constitutional amendment. Do you agree with that?” a reporter asked. “I’m going to stay focused on jobs,” Boehner replied, before abruptly leaving the stage.
Evening Brief: Important Stories That You May Have Missed
Just hours after the president’s historic announcement yesterday, House Republicans responded by voting to reaffirm their support for the Defense of Marriage Act.
An angry Mitt Romney told a local TV reporter that same-sex marriage, the DREAM Act, and medical marijuana aren’t issues of “significance.”
GOP House member who voted down ENDA claims LGBT people are already protected from employment discrimination.
Sec. of Defense: open service by gays and lesbians has “become part and parcel of what they’ve accepted within the military.”
Following Obama’s lead, Senate Majority Leader Reid says he’d vote for marriage equality in Nevada.
In fundraising pitch to help retire his campaign event, Rick Santorum calls Obama’s evolution on marriage “a tragic day for America.”
As Massachusetts governor, Mitt Romney battled and eventually eliminated LGBT anti-bullying commission.
A GOP consultant who helped pass North Carolina’s discriminatory Amendment 1 says Obama’s “embrace of gay marriage is likely to inspire the Democratic base as much as it might turn off persuadable centrists” in the battleground state.
Matthew Shepard’s mother assailed Mitt Romney today after reports surfaced of his anti-gay bullying in high school.