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Mitt Romney
threatens to kill gay youth commission

Mitt Romney
threatens to kill gay youth commission

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Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney moved to eliminate a commission for gay youth in apparent retaliation for a press release that contained his name and touted a gay pride parade.

Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney on Thursday moved to to eliminate a 14-year-old advisory commission for gay and lesbian youths, in apparent retaliation for a press release that contained his name and touted a gay pride parade, reports TheBoston Globe.

Kathleen M. Henry, chairwoman for the commission, told the Globe she was called Thursday by Beth Myers, the governor's chief of staff. She told her that the governor planned to issue an executive order ''revoking our existence" and creating another youth commission whose purview would be all of the state's youths, not just gays and lesbians. The commission would have all new members, she said.

But a few hours later, Myers called again, Henry said, and said the governor had switched course. ''He changed his mind," said Henry, claiming it was the result of gays and lesbians calling the governor's office. ''We inundated them with outrage. It just plumed everywhere."

Romney spokesman Eric Fehrnstrom insisted that the governor's office received no such calls from gay rights activists but opted against abolishing the commission because ''the governor thought that was too harsh." ''Instead, we're directing the commission not to use taxpayer money for parades and parties and to refocus their resources on counseling and the development of strategies for the prevention of violence and suicide," Fehrnstrom told the Globe. ''That is in keeping with the original mission of the commission."

The commission was created by Gov. William Weld in 1992 to help gay and lesbian youths in school, where they face increased risk of victimization, harassment, and discrimination. The commission's work focuses primarily on violence and suicide prevention. A youth committee also organizes an annual youth pride parade. The 12th annual parade will take place on Saturday.

Administration sources told the Globe that Romney's aides were angered by an ''unauthorized" news release issued by the commission March 27 announcing this weekend's youth pride parade. The release, which described the celebration of ''gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and queer youth and their supporters," went out on official state stationery, with the names of Romney and Lt. Gov. Kerry Healey appearing with the names of the commission chairwoman and vice chair. (The Advocate)

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