By Lucas Grindley
Originally published on Advocate.com January 09 2012 5:01 PM ET
Mitt Romney's campaign was forced to answer for two pieces from his seemingly pro-gay past this weekend, disavowing one part of it.
A campaign spokesman told The Huffington Post that Romney had nothing to do with a pink flier distributed during his 2002 campaign for governor. The fliers say Romney and his running mate "wish you a great Pride Weekend!" and then state that "all citizens deserve equal rights, regardless of their sexual preference."
A sentence on the fliers had claimed they were "paid for by the Romney for Governor Committee," but the campaign now denies it, 10 years later. (Update: A former intern with the Romney for Governor campaign says he helped distribute the fliers and that it was part of the campaign.)
The fliers had become part of the lore about Romney's supposedly pro-gay stances taken while either running for Senate in 1994 or for governor. Romney was asked about another piece of that lore during Sunday's Meet the Press debate.
The candidate had told LGBT newspaper Bay Windows in 1994 that "I think the gay community needs more support from the Republican Party, and I would be a voice in the Republican Party to foster anti-discrimination efforts." A moderator asked Romney how he'd gone about fulfilling his promise to advocate for gay rights.
"If people are looking for someone who will discriminate against gays or who will in any way try to suggest that people that have different sexual orientations don't have full rights in the country, they won't find that in me," Romney said, declaring "I don't discriminate."
Romney pointed to appointments of gay people as judges and to his cabinet as evidence, saying, "We should not discriminate in hiring policies and legal policies."
While his answer was applauded by GOProud, a political group for gay conservatives, as an example of standing up for LGBT people, it was also condemned by the Human Rights Campaign as hypocrisy.
The HRC noted in a news release that Romney opposes the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, claiming it would “open a litigation floodgate and unfairly penalize employers at the hands of activist judges.”