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Romney saddled with bedmate National Organization for Marriage’s endorsement

With NOM circling the virtual drain (its social media and blog accounts have been hacked), the timing of its endorsement of Mitt Romney couldn’t have come at a worse time. Mittens has to face questions about accepting the support of a race-baiting anti-LGBT organization — as well as signing its hateful pledge to court the fundies. HRC sent out this release:

The Human Rights Campaign is calling on presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney to immediately reject the endorsement of the National Organization for Marriage, one of the nation’s leading anti-gay groups that uses racial exploitation for its own political gain. As Romney exits the primaries and begins making his Etch a Sketch appeal to mainstream voters, the backing of a fringe group like NOM will most certainly present a problem. NOM’s strategy of racially dividing and pitting communities against one another is not representative of the values of mainstream Americans.

Last month, HRC unearthed previously confidential documents that shed a light on NOM’s racially divisive strategy to fight marriage equality. In the documents, NOM said: “The strategic goal of this project is to drive a wedge between gays and blacks—two key Democratic constituencies. Find, equip, energize and connect African American spokespeople for marriage, develop a media campaign around their objections to gay marriage as a civil right; provoke the gay marriage base into responding by denouncing these spokesmen and women as bigots…” Romney donated $10,000 to NOM in 2008, according to financial documents recently obtained and released by HRC. Last summer – before NOM’s strategy was known – Romney ominously signed NOM’s marriage pledge, which includes the formation of a McCarthy-like presidential commission to investigate allegations of harassment against opponents of marriage equality. Every single court that has reviewed these claims by NOM has rejected them.

“If Romney does not reject NOM’s endorsement, his silence – coupled with his 2008 donation – is tantamount to his approval of NOM’s ruthless, racially divisive strategy,” said HRC president Joe Solmonese. “The fact that one of the most hate-filled groups in American politics is endorsing Romney today is something the governor should run from, not embrace. We’ll see what he chooses to do.”


Maggie Gallagher of NOM

NOM’s embrace of Romney this morning represents a change of heart for the organization. NOM founder Maggie Gallagher had endorsed and been a vocal supporter of Rick Santorum. In a column published March 15, 2012, Gallagher wrote: “For a candidate whose strong suit is ‘electability,’ Romney’s beginning to emerge as a very weak candidate to win in November, especially if the economy continues to nudge toward recovery.” On the day of the April 3 primaries, Gallagher also wrote: “Santorum’s sense of genuineness, and his fierce commitment to principles (including life and marriage) is what is keeping him competitive, preventing Romney from closing the deal, and causing the growing frustration of Team Romney.”

The endorsement comes the same morning as NOM appears to be struggling with hacked social media accounts. In a series of tweets, Facebook, and blog posts, the anti-LGBT organization appears to have apologized for its racially divisive strategy, unblocked supporters of equality who the group had barred from commenting on their Facebook page, and even said it endorsed marriage equality as a “mutiny” was underway at the organization’s DC headquarters.

And the Obama campaign also quickly responded, sending out this release from Clo Ewing, Obama for America Director of Constituency Press:

“President Obama has long believed that gay and lesbian couples deserve the same legal protections as straight couples. That’s why he has called for repeal of the so-called ‘Defense of Marriage Act’ and has taken steps to weaken this discriminatory law until the time it can be repealed legislatively. Meanwhile, Mitt Romney, who promised to be to the left of Senator Kennedy on gay rights is now being endorsed by the National Organization for Marriage, an organization committed to limiting the legal protections of the LGBT community.”

Along with these reminders (even as the President has his own issues with “evolving” on marriage equality)…


Romney Flip-Flopped On Gay Rights And Has “Systematically Sacrificed His Reformer Credentials To National Political Expediency.” “During the same [1994] campaign, Mr. Romney assured gay voters that, ‘as we seek to establish full equality for America’s gay and lesbian citizens, I will provide more effective leadership than my opponent.’  Keep in mind: His opponent was Ted Kennedy.  Now, of course, Mr. Romney is doing all he can to overturn gay marriage, which was legalized in Massachusetts in 2004. Within the state, the initial furor has long ago evaporated, and even Republicans in the State Legislature have dropped their efforts to outlaw it. But Republicans in South Carolina are still in a lather, so Mr. Romney is too.  In less ideologically charged policy areas, Mr. Romney has systematically sacrificed his reformer credentials to national political expediency.”  [New York Observer, 12/11/06]


2002: Romney Signed A Petition For An Amendment To Ban Civil Unions In Massachusetts But Later Expressed His Opposition To The Amendment Calling It “Too Extreme.” “In 2002, when he was governor, his wife, son and daughter-in-law signed a petition supporting a proposed amendment to the Massachusetts constitution, that would not only ban the state from recognizing same-sex marriages, but further stated, ‘Any other relationship shall not be recognized as a marriage or its legal equivalent, nor shall it receive the benefits or incidents exclusive to marriage.’ But Romney quickly expressed his opposition to the amendment, saying that although he believed marriage was between a man and a woman, the language barring civil unions was ‘too extreme,’ with his spokesman telling the Boston Globe, ‘Mitt does not support it. As far as Mitt is concerned, it goes farther than current law, and therefore it’s unnecessary.’” [Politifact, 10/5/07]

2003: Romney Endorsed “Civil Union” Legislation, But Opposed Gay Marriage.Under pressure to respond to the Supreme Judicial Court’s decision on gay marriage, Governor Mitt Romney and a top House lawmaker said yesterday that they believe the justices would be satisfied if lawmakers craft a civil union statute that grants many of the benefits of marriage but does not legally sanction same-sex marriage. Romney and state Representative Eugene L. O’Flaherty, the House chairman of the Committee on the Judiciary, said separately that they do not support legislation to allow gays to marry and believe the justices signaled that a parallel system of civil unions for gays would meet state constitutional muster. Talking with reporters outside his office, Romney said that the justices, by giving lawmakers 180 days to carry out their ruling, gave state legislators a window to put in place ‘a civil union type’ statute. ‘Under that opinion, I believe that a civil union type provision would be sufficient,[ Romney said. [I believe their decision indicates that a provision which provided benefits, obligation, rights, and responsibilities, which are consistent with marriage but perhaps could be called by a different name, would be in conformity with their decision.’” [Boston Globe, 11/20/03]

2005: Romney Said He Has Been Against Gay Marriage And Civil Unions Since “Day One.” “In February, Romney told a South Carolina Republican audience that ‘from day one, I’ve opposed the move for same-sex marriage and its equivalent, civil unions.’ But gay rights groups, including a leading GOP organization, accused Romney of flip-flopping, saying he had supported some benefits for gay couples in his 2002 campaign.” [Boston Globe, 6/17/05]

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Pam Spaulding

Pam Spaulding