By Trudy Ring
Originally published on Advocate.com March 10 2012 7:00 PM ET
The Human Rights Campaign and supporters are calling on Mitt Romney to fire his national finance chair, Frank VanderSloot, who has a record of antigay activities.
HRC launched an online action Thursday night, with a letter for individuals to sign and send to Romney, the front-runner for the Republican presidential nomination, and more than 15,000 people have already done so, officials with the group said.
VanderSloot, a wealthy Idaho businessman, has an antigay history that includes a billboard campaign condemning Idaho Public Television for showing the award-winning documentary It’s Elementary: Talking About Gay Issues in School. The billboards claimed the film promoted “the homosexual lifestyle,” and according to a Salon profile by Glenn Greenwald, VanderSloot said of the documentary, “If this isn’t stopped, a lot of little kids will watch this program and create questions they’ve never had ... little lives are going to be damaged permanently.”
Greenwald also reported that VanderSloot has often threatened journalists who write about him and outed a gay one, and that in 2008 his wife, Belinda, donated $100,000 in support of Proposition 8, the ballot measure that rescinded marriage equality in California.
HRC spokesman Fred Sainz said Romney’s relationship with VanderSloot “speaks volumes about how Mitt Romney truly feels about LGBT people.” He urged Romney to “immediately fire VanderSloot and return the money he’s donated to the campaign” and added that the candidate “can no longer get away with saying he opposes discrimination against LGBT Americans while simultaneously working with someone as viciously anti-LGBT as Frank VanderSloot.”
For HRC’s letter, click here.