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Mitt was for homos before he was against them — on the record

Go enjoy Laura Kiritsy’s “Romney is a big fat liar” over at Bay Windows. I want to see homophobe Mitt Romney tap dance out of the pro-gay statements he made in an interview with BW back in 1994 when he was battling Ted Kennedy for the U.S. Senate seat. Here’s some delicious self-destruction.

In the interview, Romney emphasized that he would be an advocate for gay civil rights. And he offered some surprisingly thoughtful reasons for his positions — surprising only because of his demagoguing on gay rights today. He tied his willingness to advocate for the rights of gay people, for instance, to the Mormon concept of “free agency”:

“When I speak of free agency, I don’t just mean that each person can do what they want to do, I mean that our society should allow people to make their own choices and live by their own beliefs,” said Romney. “People of integrity don’t force their beliefs on others, they make sure that others can live by different beliefs they may have. That’s the great thing about this country: it was founded to allow people to follow beliefs of their own conscience. I will work and have worked to fight discrimination and to assure each American equal opportunity.”

So what changed, Mitt? Did you find a special clause in the Good Book that blew “free agency” out of the water when it comes to gay folks? But wait, take a look at his position on “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” — in 1994, he stated that gays and lesbians would be able to serve openly.

“I believe that there will be change over time as the military establishment and the rank and file become more comfortable with the realities of sexual orientation in the military,” said Romney. “I will support progress being made in that area as time progresses and the military and society becomes more accepting.”

My favorite pro-gay Romney tidbit is the news that he courted the Massachusetts Log Cabin Club during that Senate race in ’84, writing the organization a letter pledging to be more pro-gay than Kennedy — good grief, the fundies are going to eat this hypocrite alive!

An original copy of the letter has yet to surface. But on Oct. 17, 1994, the Globe reported that Romney wrote to the group and said, “as we seek to establish full equality for America’s gay and lesbian citizens, I will provide more effective leadership than my opponent.” An Oct. 13, 1994 Bay Windows article also quoted from Romney’s letter: “For some voters it might be enough for me 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.”

Now pols can “evolve” on their positions over time, but this is another case of a switch of epic, craven proportions. It’s clear that Mitt believes homos are an easy mark, we can be thrown under the bus with little political impact on his potential candidacy.  After all, this is the same man who said in 2005 that marriage equality will destroy the international rep of the US.

I doubt Mitt’s campaign ambitions are going to go far once The Base gets wind of this. It would be nice if the MSM forces him to explain his political conversion.

Also check out Kiritsy’s Mitt’s Secret gay history II, a collection of Mitt’s pro-gay quotes from 1994 that will come back to haunt him. My fave snippet…

On why the gay community should support Romney over Kennedy, given Kennedy’s record of supporting both civil rights and the gay community:

“Well, I think you’re partially right in characterizing Ted Kennedy as supportive of the gay community, and I respect the work and efforts he’s made on behalf of the gay community and for civil rights more generally, and I would continue that fight.

“There’s something to be said for having a Republican who supports civil rights in this broader context, including sexual orientation. When Ted Kennedy speaks on gay rights, he’s seen as an extremist. When Mitt Romney speaks on gay rights he’s seen as a centrist and a moderate. It’s a little like if Eugene McCarthy was arguing in favor of recognizing China, people would have called him a nut. But when Richard Nixon does it, it becomes reasonable. When Ted says it, it’s extreme; when I say it, it’s mainstream.

“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.

“The other thing I should say is that the gay community and the members of it that are friends of mine that I’ve talked to don’t vote solely on the basis of gay rights issues. They’re also very concerned about a $4 trillion national debt, a failing school system, a welfare system that’s out of whack and a criminal justice system that isn’t working. I believe that while I would further the efforts Ted Kennedy has led, I would also lead the country in new and far more positive ways in taxing and spending, welfare reform, criminal justice and education. That’s why I believe many gay and lesbian individuals will support my candidacy and do support my candidacy.

“I have several friends in the gay community who are supporters, who are working in my campaign. I think they believe I would be a better senator.”

Do you think Mitt will be held accountable for his hypocrisy?

Hat tips to Tony and Autumn.

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding