By Lucas Grindley
Originally published on Advocate.com April 17 2012 5:41 PM ET
As governor, Mitt Romney's administration once proclaimed that it would "transform Boston Common into 'Rainbow City,'" according to a 2006 news release dug up by BuzzFeed.
The Governor's Commission on Gay and Lesbian Youth made the promise as part of its Youth Pride celebration in March 2006. But that doesn't necessarily mean Romney supported the idea.
Although Romney's name is featured at the very top of the announcement's official-looking letterhead, he actually tried to scrap the whole thing, BuzzFeed reports.
"Rainbow City" was the theme for the 2006 festival, which included a parade, a drag king host, awards for young people who inspired the LGBT community, and performances of songs from The Wizard of Oz by the Boston Women's Rainbow Chorus.
But BuzzFeed points out that Romney tried to abolish the Governor's Commission on Gay and Lesbian Youth, which had long preceded his tenure. The governor was reportedly angry that his name was being used in connection with the event.
Announcements in 2003 and 2004 of Youth Pride, headlined dramatically as "A Proclamation By His Excellency Governor Mitt Romney," sounded very positive for LGBT youth.
"Whereas gay youth and their straight supporters are joining together" and "whereas young people, particularly gays and lesbians, are at a high risk for suicide, abuse of drugs and alcohol and running away from home," plus a few more "whereas" classes, therefore Romney would declare one day in May as Youth Pride Day.
A Romney spokesman told the Boston Globe at the time that Romney considered abolishing the LGBT-focused commission and replacing it with one for all youth but decided that would be "too harsh." Instead he required that taxpayer money stop being spent on "parades and parties."
Antigay activist Brian Camenker, now of MassResistance, had met with the governor's staff to complain about photos from past parades, according to the Globe.
"They had boys in fishnet stockings and high heels parading down Boylston Street," Camenker said, according to the Globe, that he informed Romney's staff. "They had boys dressed as women embracing. We presented stuff, and they were visibly sickened by what they saw. I said, basically, this group has to go. It's so manifestly destructive to kids that you have to get rid of it. They said they'd do something."