Scroll To Top
World

Massachusetts
governor Mitt Romney's record on gays questioned

Massachusetts
governor Mitt Romney's record on gays questioned

Mitt_romney_3

Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney's beliefs on gay issues are under scrutiny after the reemergence of a letter he wrote during his 1994 run for U.S. Senate in which he promised a gay Republican group he would be a stronger advocate for gays than Sen. Edward Kennedy.

Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney's beliefs on gay issues are under scrutiny after the reemergence of a letter he wrote during his 1994 run for U.S. Senate in which he promised a gay Republican group he would be a stronger advocate for gays than Sen. Edward Kennedy. Romney's views in the letter contrast with recent statements by the Massachusetts governor, who has emphasized his opposition to same-sex marriage as he positions himself as a committed conservative in preparation for an expected 2008 run for the Republican presidential nomination. The 1994 letter was written to the Log Cabin Club of Massachusetts, a gay Republican group, when Romney was courting gay voters during his unsuccessful campaign against Kennedy. Citing Kennedy's record of advocacy for gays and lesbians, Romney wrote, ''For some voters, it might be enough to simply match my opponent's record in this area. But I believe we can and must do better. If we are to achieve the goals we share, we must make equality for gays and lesbians a mainstream concern. My opponent cannot do this. I can and will.'' A gay-oriented Massachusetts newspaper, Bay Windows, has also released a transcript of a 1994 interview with Romney during the Senate race in which he pledged strong advocacy for the gay community. ''I think the gay community needs more support from the Republican Party, and I would be a voice in the Republican Party to foster antidiscrimination efforts,'' Romney said, according to the transcript. During the same interview, Romney said he opposed then-U.S. senator Jesse Helms's legislative amendment to ban federal funding for public schools that support homosexuality as a "lifestyle alternative." ''I don't think the federal government has any business dictating to local school boards what their curriculum or practices should be,'' Romney said, according to the transcript. ''I think that's a dangerous precedent in general. I would have opposed that. It also grossly misunderstands the gay community by insinuating that there's an attempt to proselytize a gay lifestyle on the part of the gay community.'' In the Log Cabin Club letter, Romney also said he supported President Clinton's ''don't ask, don't tell'' policy regarding gays serving in the armed forces, describing it as ''the first in a number of steps that will ultimately lead to gays and lesbians being able to serve openly and honestly in our nation's military.'' Tony Perkins, president of the conservative Family Research Council, said Romney's comments were ''quite disturbing.'' ''This is going to create a lot of problems for Governor Romney,'' he told The New York Times in Saturday's editions. ''He is going to have a hard time overcoming this.'' Noted conservative Paul Weyrich told the Times, ''Unless he comes out with an abject repudiation of this, I think it makes him out to be a hypocrite.'' Romney was wrapping up a weeklong trip to Asia on Saturday and could not be reached for comment. In an e-mailed statement, Romney spokesman Eric Fehrnstrom said that as governor Romney has never advocated changing the military's policy toward gays and has consistently supported traditional values. Romney recently became a plaintiff in a lawsuit to force the state legislature to vote on a constitutional amendment that would reverse the state's landmark 2003 court ruling legalizing same-sex marriage. State lawmakers have refused to vote on the amendment, a strategy that could effectively kill the measure. ''As governor, Mitt Romney has been a champion of traditional marriage,'' Fehrnstrom said in his statement. ''He's fought the efforts of activist judges who seek to redefine marriage, and he's testified before the U.S. Senate in support of the Federal Marriage Amendment. Governor Romney has been a leader in protecting marriage and in focusing this debate on the needs of children.'' Arline Isaacson, cochair of the Massachusetts Gay and Lesbian Political Caucus, said she cautioned gays and lesbians against believing Romney's overtures in 1994, adding that conservatives shouldn't trust him either. ''He can't be trusted,'' she said. ''Because if it is politically expedient for him to swing to his right or swing to his left, he will do it.'' (David Weber, AP)

Advocate Magazine - KehlaniAdvocate Magazine - Gus Kenworthy

From our Sponsors

Most Popular

Latest Stories