By Diane Anderson-Minshall
Originally published on Advocate.com June 22 2012 11:50 AM ET
Many political watchers were surprised when GOProud, the conservative LGBT group, endorsed Mitt Romney for president this week. But, amid all the headlines, what wasn't public knowledge, says Metro Weekly's Chris Geidner, "is how close the endorsement came to not happening at all. Or how little gay support it had from the board."
GOProud board member and executive director Jimmy LaSalvia released a statement saying that "GOProud is the first and only organization representing gay Americans to endorse Governor Romney's Presidential bid." Geidner says, however, that "only a bare majority of the board's seven members at the time voted for the endorsement. What's more, half of the board's gay or lesbian members voted against endorsing Romney."
That means four of seven GOProud board members supported the endorsement, and of those only two are gay: LaSalvia and Bruce Carroll.
LaSalvia isn't worried about the lack of an LGBT majority, though, saying to Metro Weekly, "GOProud represents gay and straight conservatives. Every member of our board's vote counts the same regardless of their sexual orientation. That's the definition of equality."
Ironically, just over a month ago, on May 12, LaSalvia took Romney to task for speaking at Liberty University, telling reporters, "With his speech at [Jerry] Falwell’s Liberty University, it is clear that Governor Romney’s message to Goldwater conservatives is: drop dead. Many on our board and among our grassroots supporters have long had reservations about Governor Romney’s record — particularly when it comes to issues of importance to conservatives. Issues like fundamental tax reform, healthcare reform, and entitlement reform. As an organization that was born amidst the energy and enthusiasm of the early days of the Tea Party movement, many in our organization are concerned about how seriously Governor Romney will take cutting the size and scope of government, about his commitment to federalism and about whether or not he will dramatically cut federal spending."
He then warned, "If Romney expects to be the candidate who can beat Obama in November then he needs to embrace a strategy that makes victory possible — falling into the culture war trap laid by Obama is a guaranteed electoral loser."