We all know that Mitt Romney opposes gay marriage, as required by the Republican Party. But don’t think for a second that Romney might soften his social conservative side if elected. After his failed 1994 senate bid, Romney switched from being pro-gay rights to ruthlessly targeting and undermining the gay, lesbian, bisexual and transgender community.
Here are the 7+ worst things Romney has done to the gay and transgender community (that we know of so far):
1. As governor of Massachusetts, Mitt Romney invoked a 100-year-old law against interracial marriage to stop gay people from marrying in the state.
After the Massachusetts Supreme Court ruled in November 2003 that same-sex couples have a constitutional right to marry equal to straight couples, Mitt Romney vehemently and actively opposed the ruling. First, he threw his weight behind a state constitutional amendment against gay marriage, and then a citizens’ referendum; both were ultimately unsuccessful.
A month before the ruling took effect, Romney still sought to throw stones in the path. He said that he sought to prevent Massachusetts from becoming the “Las Vegas of gay marriage” as he invoked a 1913 law prohibiting interracial couples from other states from coming to Massachusetts to marry, if their state of residency prohibited gay marriage. Romney then issued an order requiring clerks to verify Massachusetts residency of same-sex applicants for marriage licenses.
“We do not intend to export our marriage confusion to the entire nation,” Romney said as governor.
2. Romney doesn’t care about gay youth or the victims of hate crimes (maybe because he’s a perpetrator of a hate crime on a gay youth?)
One of the first items on Romney’s gubernatorial agenda was eliminating all funds for hate crime prevention, effectively shutting down the pre-existing Governor’s Task Force on Hate Crimes.
Romney’s disregard for the victims of hate and violence was not unprecedented in his own life. Many of us have heard how a young Romney tackled and pinned down John Lauber, a student presumed to be gay, and cut his hair while Lauber cried and screamed for help.
While Romney tried to shrug off his assault on Lauber as horseplay and said he hadn’t realized Lauber was gay, the disturbing reality was gay-bashing, as independently confirmed by five other witnesses, one of whom is now a school principal.
Romney also disbanded the Massachusetts Governor’s Commission on Gay and Lesbian Youth and blocked publication of a state anti-bullying guide for Massachusetts public schools because of objection to use of the terms “bisexual’’ and “transgender’’ when describing the LGBT students covered by the harassment policy.
3. Romney said “thanks” to people who claim that all gay men have a secret plan to promote pedophilia, and who have ties to white supremacy.
When Mitt Romney recently addressed the Values Voters Summit, he thanked Tony Perkins and the Family Research Council “for their leadership.” In addition to an interest in white supremacy, the area where Tony Perkins and the Family Research Council show leadership is in falsely linking gay men to pedophilia.
In 1999, FRC claimed that one of the primary goals of the homosexual rights movement was to abolish all age of consent laws and to eventually recognize pedophiles as the “prophets” of a new sexual order. (Obviously, experts disagree, concluding that “homosexual men are not more likely to sexually abuse children than heterosexual men are.”)
This year, Mitt Romney also delivered the commencement address at Liberty University, a fiercely anti-gay school in Lynchburg, Va., which refuses admission to openly gay students and has hosted “ex-gay” conferences on its campus. The “university” was founded by televangelist Jerry Falwell, who was once quoted blaming 9/11 on gays and lesbians.
4. Not only does Romney like firing people, he really enjoys firing gay people!
It’s no wonder why Romney is opposed to the federal Employment Non-Discrimination Act, which would prohibit hiring and employment discrimination based on sexual orientation or gender identity – he has already fired two gay staffers:
- Ardith Wieworka, terminated by Romney in 2004 from the Massachusetts Office of Child Care Services, soon after she made public her intention to marry her partner when gay marriage became legal in the state.
- Richard Grenell, let go from the Romney campaign this year under pressure from right-wing anti-gay groups. Romney’s campaign later tried to appease social conservatives by claiming Grenell hadn’t yet started work, when in fact he had.
5. Romney to Gay People: “You have families? And biological children? Who cares!”
When Romney reluctantly accepted a meeting with the plaintiffs of the landmark Massachusetts case that legalized gay marriage, the governor was less than cordial.
Romney was described as stone-faced, silent, and unempathetic while the group of gay activists pleaded their case for equal rights. He seemed amazed at the people’s mention of their loved ones, saying “I didn’t know you had families.”
The governor reasserted his determination to institute a new ban on gay marriage in the state. As she left, Julie Goodridge, who had spoken about her biological daughter and partner during the meeting, asked the governor what she should say to her 8-year-old girl about why the Governor seeks to block her two moms from getting married. Romney replied to her: “I don’t really care what you tell your adopted daughter” – Romney assumes gay people are incapable of being biological parents!
The lack of humanity from Romney is remarkable – he doesn’t listen, doesn’t care, and doesn’t even think gay people have families.
6. Romney has signed a pledge promising to pursue a U.S. Constitutional Amendment banning same-sex marriage.
Mitt is pledge-happy, backing himself tightly into GOP-approved dogmatic corners. If elected president, Romney has pledged to violate the freedoms and equal protection granted by the U.S. Constitution with a crusade to pass a federal constitutional amendment banning gay marriage. He also seeks to protect the “religious liberties” of anti-gay protestors (like the Westboro Baptist monsters that descend like psycho vultures on fallen soldiers’ and murdered children’s funerals).
7. While Romney once sold himself as the “gay rights candidate” in Massachusetts, his major reversal on equal rights signals not only his cunning ambition – but also his complete lack of integrity.
The most worrisome of Romney’s qualities is his unreliability; he’ll say anything, and be anyone, to get what he’s after.
Once upon a time, Romney was pro-gay. When he was up against Ted Kennedy in a 1994 senatorial race, Romney vowed he was “to the left of Ted” on gay rights. In an interview with an LGBT newspaper, here’s how Romney responded to a question on whether he would support gay equality:
“The answer is yes. When I speak of free agency, I don’t just mean that each person can do what they want to do, I mean that our society should allow people to make their own choices and live by their own beliefs. People of integrity don’t force their beliefs on others, they make sure that others can live by different beliefs they may have.”
Romney’s dramatic flip-flop on the equality issue over the past two decades strongly hints that his aggressive anti-gay stance is rooted in his ambition to win the White House. So not only is Romney de-evolved and insensitive, he’s conniving in his attacks on the recognition and rights of millions of happy same-sex couples.
Sadly for Mitt, but infinitely better for the gay community and the rest of America, this GOP hopeful isn’t succeeding in winning over very many undecided voters.
Do you know of more ways Mitt has insulted or harmed the LGBT community? Contact me via email to add more to the list – or comment below.