Connect with us

News

‘I Didn’t Know You Had Families’ Mitt Romney Told Group Of Gay Parents in 2004

Published

on

In 2004, then-Massachusetts Governor Mitt Romney succumbed to meet with a group of gay and lesbian parents who were trying to get him to follow that state’s supreme court ruling to enable same-sex couples to marry. Romney reportedly was unmoved after hearing their stories and why they needed the law to allow them to marry — to protect their families.

“I didn’t know you had families,” Romney told the LGBT parents in the group, standing in his office, according to an extensive article in Boston Spirit, a blog hosted by the Boston Globe’s website:

“It was like talking to a robot. No expression, no feeling,” recalls David Wilson, one of the plaintiffs in the case who met with Romney that day. “People were sharing touching stories, stories where you’d expect recognition in the other person’s face that they at least hear what you’re saying” that there’s empathy. He didn’t even shake his head. He was completely blank.”

Occasionally Romney would say something.

“I didn’t know you had families,” remarked Romney to the group, according to Wilson.

“I didn’t know you had families,” remarked Romney to the group, according to Wilson.
The offhanded remark underscored that Romney, the governor of the first state prepared to grant same-sex marriage, hadn’t taken the time to look at what the landmark case was really about. By this point the plaintiff’s stories had been widely covered by national media — in particular, Julie Goodridge’s heartrending tale of how her then-partner, Hillary, was denied hospital visitation following the precarious birth of daughter Annie. It was the ignorance of these facts — and Romney’s inaccurate, insensitive answer to her parting question, that pushed Julie Goodridge to her breaking point.

“I looked him in the eye as we were leaving,” recalls Goodridge. “And I said, ‘Governor Romney, tell me — what would you suggest I say to my 8 year-old daughter about why her mommy and her ma can’t get married because you, the governor of her state, are going to block our marriage?’”

His response, according to Goodridge: “I don’t really care what you tell your adopted daughter. Why don’t you just tell her the same thing you’ve been telling her the last eight years.”

Romney’s retort enraged a speechless Goodridge; he didn’t care, and by referring to her biological daughter as “adopted,” it was clear he hadn’t even been listening. By the time she was back in the hallway, she was reduced to tears.

“I really kind of lost it,” says Goodridge. “I’ve never stood before someone who had no capacity for empathy. It went behind flat affect. It was a complete lack of ability or motivation to understand other people.”

The extensive article, written by Scott Kearnan, notes too Romney’s decision to dismantle the Governor’s Commission on Gay and Lesbian Youth, created to “to specifically address youth-related issues like anti-gay harassment and teen suicide,” Kearnan writes:

At first Romney seemed as though he’d be an ally to the Commission, says Kathleen Henry, who chaired the Commission during Romney’s administration. Romney released official proclamations recognizing Youth Pride, and in his inauguration expressed the importance of defending civil rights regardless of, among other things, sexual orientation.

“I opened almost every meeting reading that [passage from Romney’s inauguration], like it was a prayer,” recalls Henry. “I’d say, ‘This is what our governor believes.’”

Then in May 2006, Henry got a phone call from Romney’s chief of staff. A Commission press release touting the Youth Pride parade had been sent out on stationery that included the governor’s name in its sidebar. This placed Romney’s name on the same page as the word “transgender.” He was not happy. He was going to shut down the Commission. Just like that. The end.

Henry’s heart sank. Suicide prevention programs, support for Gay-Straight Alliances (GSA), training administrators to establish “safe school” practices for gay youth — all of that was “flashing before my eyes,” says Henry, who was only hours away from a Commission fundraiser at the Omni Parker House when she received the call. Luckily, political allies leapt to the Commission’s defense, and within hours Romney reversed his order to dismantle the group. In response, Henry worked with the Massachusetts Legislature to hurriedly create the Massachusetts Commission on GLBT Youth, which would exist independent of the governor’s office.

Once that was established, Romney dismantled the original Commission as a redundancy. Then something strange happened. Henry’s phone rang again, it was Romney himself calling, and the tone was very different.

Kearnan’s article appears extensively researched and covers far more ground on Mitt Romney’s interactions with the LGBT community or anything remotely gay. Highly recommend you read and share.

Image: Mitt Romney and his family, circa 1984, via Facebook

Editor’s note: The Boston Spirit article, published on the Boston Globe’s website, was actually written by Scott Kearnan, according to Jim Lopata, who edited the Globe article and is the Editor In Chief of Boston Spirit. A previous version of this article credited Lopata, to whom the Boston Globe gave the byline.

Continue Reading
Click to comment
 
 

Enjoy this piece?

… then let us make a small request. The New Civil Rights Movement depends on readers like you to meet our ongoing expenses and continue producing quality progressive journalism. Three Silicon Valley giants consume 70 percent of all online advertising dollars, so we need your help to continue doing what we do.

NCRM is independent. You won’t find mainstream media bias here. From unflinching coverage of religious extremism, to spotlighting efforts to roll back our rights, NCRM continues to speak truth to power. America needs independent voices like NCRM to be sure no one is forgotten.

Every reader contribution, whatever the amount, makes a tremendous difference. Help ensure NCRM remains independent long into the future. Support progressive journalism with a one-time contribution to NCRM, or click here to become a subscriber. Thank you. Click here to donate by check.

News

Palm Beach Lawmaker Sues Local Paper Over Attempt to Access Jeffrey Epstein Records

Published

on

The Palm Beach Post is reporting that the local County Clerk of the Courts is asking the courts to make the paper pay the legal fees he incurred while blocking attempts to access grand jury records related to a 2006 Jeffrey Epstein investigation.

Getting right to the point, the Post’s Jane Musgrave wrote, “Despite insisting he wants the public to know why serial molester Jeffrey Epstein escaped serious punishment 15 years ago, Palm Beach County Clerk of Courts Joe Abruzzo wants to punish The Palm Beach Post for trying to open secret records that could do just that.”

As the report notes, Abruzzo employed the Tampa law firm belonging to Shane Vogt to fight the request at a cost of $32,794 and, in a motion before Circuit Judge Donald Hafele, seeks double that plus additional costs.

At issue are the grand jury transcripts that the Florida lawmaker successfully kept away from the paper.

RELATED: Jeffrey Epstein’s secret $500K settlement revealed in Prince Andrew legal dispute: report

Explaining the Post’s case, Musgrave wrote, “The newspaper went to court after records showed only one teen was called to testify to the grand jury even though dozens told police Epstein sexually abused them at his Palm Beach mansion.”

“Further, sources familiar with the grand jury proceedings said the 14-year-old girl was vilified by state prosecutors,” she added. “Rather than focus on her claims of abuse, lieutenants for then-State Attorney Barry Krischer quizzed her about her online social media posts where she talked about drinking and boys, they said.”

The report continued, “In court papers, The Post’s attorneys argued that releasing the records would reveal what happened and whether Krischer bowed to pressure from Epstein’s high-octane defense team.”

You can read more here.

Continue Reading

News

Madison Cawthorn Retains High-Powered GOP Attorney for Case Seeking to Disqualify Him as an Insurrectionist

Published

on

U.S. Rep. Madison Cawthorn (R-NC) is facing several six challengers to his seat in the House of Representatives this year. Two Democrats will face off, with one becoming their party’s nominee. Four Republicans are primarying the far-right freshman lawmaker, one of those five will go on to face the Democratic challenger.

But Congressman Cawthorn is facing an even great challenge, and he’s taking it seriously.

A group of attorneys is looking at both the 14 Amendment to the U.S. Constitution and North Carolina law, in an attempt to have him declared an insurrectionist and therefore unfit to serve.

“No person shall be a Senator or Representative in Congress,” the 14th Amendment reads, “who, having previously taken an oath, as a member of Congress…shall have engaged in insurrection or rebellion against the same, or given aid or comfort to the enemies thereof.”

The New York Times Tuesday night reports “Mr. Cawthorn, 26, who is in his first term in Congress, has denounced the case as an egregious misreading of the 14th Amendment, but he has retained James Bopp Jr., one of the most prominent conservative campaign lawyers in the country, as counsel.”

Bopp, known as being one of the attorneys who won the democracy-damning Citizens United case at the Supreme Court, flooding American politics with millions (billions?) in dark money. He’s also been a vice-chair of the RNC, and is recognized as a top conservative lawyer.

The Times adds that “North Carolina’s election statute offers challengers a remarkably low bar to question a candidate’s constitutional qualifications for office. Once someone establishes a ‘reasonable suspicion or belief’ that a candidate is not qualified, the burden shifts to the officeseeker to prove otherwise.”

Other Republicans are likely worried, which should have some wondering who’s footing the bill for Bopp.

“If Mr. Cawthorn is labeled an ‘insurrectionist,’ that could have broader ramifications. Other Republican House members, such as Marjorie Taylor Greene of Georgia, Mo Brooks of Alabama, Paul Gosar of Arizona, and Lauren Boebert of Colorado, face similar accusations, but their state’s election laws present higher hurdles for challenges to their candidate qualifications. If one of their colleagues is disqualified for his role in encouraging the rioters, those hurdles might become easier to clear.”

Read the entire Times report here.

 

 

Continue Reading

News

Chasten Buttigieg Slams Florida GOP’s ‘Don’t Say Gay’ Bill for ‘Pushing LGBTQ Families Back Into the Closet’

Published

on

Former school teacher Chasten Buttigieg is slamming Florida legislation dubbed the “Don’t Say Gay” bill, which would ban discussion of LGBTQ issues in public schools under the guise of “parental rights,” saying it will “kill kids.”

Appearing on CNN Buttigieg asked, “what kind of country we’re building, or in Florida, what kind of state are you building where you’re essentially pushing kids back into the closet, you’re saying we can’t talk about you? We can’t even talk about your families.”

“And you know, as a kid who grew up for 18 years, being told, ‘you don’t belong, something about you is wrong.’ Sometimes you take that trauma to heart and unfortunately there are a lot of kids in this country who do the worst because we tell them, ‘something about you is twisted and you don’t belong here.'”

Buttigieg railed against the bill over the weekend, posting a tweet pointing to a Trevor Project study that he says found “42% of LGBTQ youth seriously considered attempting suicide last year.”

The bill, sponsored by freshman Republican state Rep. Joe Harding, in part reads: “A school district may not encourage classroom discussion about sexual orientation or gender identity in primary grade levels or in a manner that is not age-appropriate or developmentally appropriate for students.”

Buttigieg, who is married to Secretary of Transportation Pete Buttigieg, said, “if kids come into the classroom Monday morning, and they’re all talking about their weekends, and hypothetically a kid like mine says, ‘I had the best weekend with my dad. We went to the zoo, we went and got ice cream,’ is the teacher supposed to say, ‘hey, we don’t talk about things like that in this classroom’? You know, and not only what does that do to kids like mine, but also do to a kid in the classroom [who is] starting to realize that they’re different.”

Watch:

Image by Pete for America via Flickr

Continue Reading

Trending

Copyright © 2020 AlterNet Media.