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

by David Badash on September 11, 2012

in News,Politics

Post image for ‘I Didn’t Know You Had Families’ Mitt Romney Told Group Of Gay Parents

In 2004, then-Masachusetts 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.
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.

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{ 28 comments }

LOrion September 11, 2012 at 4:43 pm

HMMM David s/b LGBT parents shouldn't it? ….ALSO this is a man whose own GRANDCHILDREN are IVF… which would be illegal under a Republican Bill!

InvokeRights September 11, 2012 at 6:54 pm

"“I didn’t know you had families,” Romney told the LGBT parents in the group"

Uhhh…they are PARENTS aren't they? They are also the children of people. They have aunts, uncles, moms, dads, cousins, etc… They also have partners, which become a part of that family.

No, all us LGBT people are hatched out of eggs and then immediately disowned.

This guy is just more and more disgusting everytime him or his wife open their mouths or we dig deeper into their past.

kettlekat September 12, 2012 at 1:22 am

Romney finds it unacceptable that they have families.

Everybodhi September 11, 2012 at 9:04 pm

I found my little gay baby under a cabbage leaf

Chubbrock September 11, 2012 at 11:09 pm

So let me get this straight (no pun intended), in a world of iPhones and secret video all we have to go on for this article is the ramblings of some pseudo-journalist providing subjective analysis with an obvious pro-homosexual bias? Where is the video?

Radical leftist homosexuals will stop at nothing to demonize those who they perceive to be unsympathetic to their lifestyle choices.

rizzuh September 11, 2012 at 11:42 pm

Hey moron, if you bothered READING the article (the first sentence even!) you'd realize that this is about an event from 2004.

LandJforALL September 12, 2012 at 12:01 am

So did you see the date for this meeting between Romney and these PEOPLE? In case numbers don't have any significance to you, or your brain doesn't function at a high enough level to think quantitatively, and I'm guessing the latter, this meeting happened in 2004. Here is another number for you: 2007. That would be the year in which the iPhone 1 (the 1 signifies that it was the first iPhone), was released. In 2004, your cell phone, if you had one, most likely flipped open and didn't have a camera on it.

So your theory is that all of this is purely fiction and has no bearing in reality. I am sure you have sources to back this up besides the lack of video evidence, because <sarcasm>I constantly forget that if a video of an event does not exist on an iPhone, then it never actually happened.</sarcasm> The writer of this article has already used multiple quotations and sources to support his article.

In case your still wondering why the letters spelling the word people in the first paragraph are big and most of the others are much smaller, they are called capital letters by the way, it is because you seem to forget that they are indeed members of the same human race that you are. They have just as much of a right to happiness in their lives as you do.

I am sorry for those of you that read this comment and have minds that function on a high level, but I had to explain certain elementary concepts to this ignorant hateful bigot. Oh an in case you were wondering, not that it should matter, I am a straight male in my mid-twenties, and those people who you are calling "radical leftist homosexuals" had the same choice you and I had when we chose our respective lifestyles, which is NO FUCKING CHOICE AT ALL. Go back to your trailer park and leave us in peace.

maybemorrigan September 12, 2012 at 2:28 am

that is just Brilliantly put! i'd consider going straight for a guy like you! (ok, not really, as you say, i can't help it :))

InvokeRights September 12, 2012 at 8:01 pm

You deserve a +1 for that one. :)

Some people just don't know HOW to read or comprehend words when put next to other words to form sentences and paragraphs. Oh well, that's just how it goes when reading comprehensions fail to an epic degree.

mito66 September 12, 2012 at 9:21 am

As soon as I see the words "radical leftist homosexuals", I know to ignore you. It's obvious that you glean all your talking points from Fox News. "Lifestyle choices". Interesting turn of phrase. You'll stick to your key words only to incite others to anger or despair, and nothing anyone says will penetrate that thick skull of yours. What a waste of time it is for others to try and sway you. You're either a dullard or a troll.

DevrieK September 12, 2012 at 9:51 am

While the author of this article is certainly biased in favor of gay rights, the gist of this article is less about whether Romney is Pro-Marriage Equality or not than it is about his lack of empathy. He did not listen to what these people were saying, and he blatantly said he didn't care. A more political and empathetic response would have shown that he listened to the woman. Even if he said, "You have a daughter that loves you and her, Ma. You don't need the government to tell you whether you are in a committed relationship," it would have been both empathetic and true to his core policies.

Thezombiemessia September 12, 2012 at 2:18 pm

"obvious pro-homosexual bias"

Are you aware of what "obvious pro-homosexual bias" really means?

It means "this person is clearly civilised" because there can honestly be no other way of interpreting a statement like that. Being in favour of letting people live a happy life (as long as they are not harming others) is just being part of civilised society.

Also, just to say: "lifestyle choices" really just completely ignores the overwhelming evidence that, you know, being LGBT isn't a "choice" but is completely natural. I mean, at what point did you make the "choice" to be straight?

GaelicWench September 12, 2012 at 11:09 am

I remember reading a comment made by Jane Finch (Glee) of how she found Romney very non-commital and dry, and that she felt he wasn't listening to her as she was talking to him. Very wooden.

Brings to mind a pre-programmed robotic kind of guy….

dosql September 12, 2012 at 10:26 pm

Normally I glaze over the bigoted, "free-thinking" comments on these kinds of posts by people who think that they should be allowed to do whatever they want, whether it's gay marriage or jumping off of a building (they're different, yes, but it's the principle behind it), but this was just so hilarious I had to comment. I mean, seriously? This article is so blatantly pro-homosexual that it makes me wonder if the author is doing an experiment to see how much bias can be put into one article. And @Thezombiemessia, "obvious pro-homosexual bias" and "this person is clearly civilised (sic)" are not EVEN CLOSE TO the same thing. As the majority of society has not yet accepted (and, I might add, hopefully never will) "gay rights," those two phrases are not mutually inclusive.

Even though I am Christian and I follow the Bible's (i.e. "true") definition of marriage, I also believe in letting people live a happy life, as long as they are not harming others. The problem is, these couples want to have children, but nature's not supposed to work that way, so they adopt children. These children, who could have been adopted by a straight couple unable to have children and lived a normal life, now have to go through a great deal of bullying and awkward moments throughout school because their parents are gay.

Also, most straight people see that homosexual relationships are just lustful wants being fulfilled, not meaningful, constructive relationships. This is not to say that all gay relationships are just lust, but most are. While straight people ate chicken and had a good time on Chick-fil-a appreciation day, gays staged a "kiss-in" where they took photos of themselves kissing in protest of Chick-fil-a's PRIVATE philanthropic choices, which is very shallow, not to mention hypocritical of their view that they should be able to do whatever they want in their private lives.

Being homosexual is a lifestyle choice. No children are born gay, they are either exposed to it through older influences or they read about it on the internet and it implants the idea into their heads. No matter what religion you follow, and almost all homosexuals fall into the "atheist" category (another lifestyle choice), humans don't reproduce by having a male and a male or a female and female couple. They are naturally supposed to be attracted to the opposite gender, and I'm pretty surprised that a lot of homosexuals haven't figured this out yet: being gay is UNNATURAL. Scientifically, it's thought to be a disorder in which there is a presence of too much of the wrong hormone (estrogen in men, testosterone in women) in one's body.

On the subject of Romney, the subject which has not received enough truly objective attention, he was very insensitive. That said, he did have the right to express his beliefs to the couples and to listen or not to their stories. Frankly, I would probably be unmoved by a homosexual couple's sob story myself, knowing that they probably brought their problems on themselves and were only looking for others to pity them. Romney should have shown more emotion if he truly acted as described and the account is not slanted by bias, but really, what did the couples expect? That this adamantly anti-gay politician would break into tears and instantly change his whole mentality over a couple of stories? Whether moved or not, Romney should have at least acted like he was. Paying attention to anyone and everyone is crucial in politics, and so is being a good actor.

ruserious55 September 12, 2012 at 11:03 pm

Are you "seriously" this stupid and uneducated? Or bored and looking for a good fight tonight? Your ignorant mentality is "exactly" why Obama will get another 4 years in November.

LandJforALL September 13, 2012 at 12:52 am

Had your reply to this article not been so long, I would have thought it was a sad attempt at a joke. There are far too many inconsistencies in your logic to takle in one response, so I will instead dissect one of your paragraphs and let readers apply it to the rest of your response.

"Even though I am Christian and I follow the Bible's (i.e. "true") definition of marriage, I also believe in letting people live a happy life, as long as they are not harming others. The problem is, these couples want to have children, but nature's not supposed to work that way, so they adopt children. These children, who could have been adopted by a straight couple unable to have children and lived a normal life, now have to go through a great deal of bullying and awkward moments throughout school because their parents are gay. "

Lets start at the very beginning. Firstly, you chose to state that the Bible's definition of marriage is the true definition. I guess you forgot that the United States was founded on the idea of freedom of religion, or lack there of, and the separation of church and state. And in case you were unsure, "state" stands for government, and laws created by the government. Therefore, a law cannot be made in which the source or inspiration for the law was founded solely from the Bible. You, like others who hide behind the Bible, pick scriptures out of context and use them to support your own bigotry, while ignoring other parts.

Secondly, you say that you believe in letting people live a happy life as long as they are not harming others. So what harm does gay marriage bring upon you? I believe that your attempt at reason for this is saying that children of gay couples have to deal with bullying in school. So it is not the homosexual couples who are causing the harm to others, but rather the ignorant heterosexuals who are bullying these children and causing them the harm. In your eyes, this is the child's parents fault. Why don't we apply this logic to some events of the past and see where it takes us. According to your reasoning, it was Jewish people's own fault that they were put into concentration camps and exterminated by the Nazi's, because they chose to be Jewish and thus provoked the wrath of the Nazi party, when they simply could have been another religion and avoided such unpleasantries. Clearly the Jewish population's fault at large, and not the Nazi's fault for doing the persecution.

You also mention that homosexual couples are unable to have children, therefore making it unnatural and not worthy of adoption. Yet heterosexual couples who, for reasons of nature, cannot have their own children, are still worthy of adoption?

In a later paragraph, you start by saying that being homosexual is a lifestyle choice, yet you finish the paragraph with a "scientific" explanation about homosexuality coming about from a chemical imbalance. So you are essentially saying that at some point a homosexual person chose to have more of a specific chemical in their body and less of another. That would be the equivalent of me telling someone with diabetes that they chose to have a lack of insulin production.

I could go on for hours, but you don't deserve any more of my time. Enjoy your sad sorry life, and please, if you have more to say, do us all a favor and instead of posting it on the internet, stick your head in a trash can, because that is where garbage belongs.

NANCI00 October 16, 2012 at 9:18 pm

Marriage in America is a legal contract between people.. (at the moment it is only acceptable to be TWO). That is ALL that marriage is. There is NO religious test to get married (I was married twice by a Notary Public for Pete's sake!) and there is NO religious test to get divorced! It is a LEGAL CONTRACT ONLY, and if you want to argue? Tell me the last divorce you know of that took place IN a CHURCH!

gaylilly September 13, 2012 at 8:54 am

ARE YOU JOKING??? It's people like you as stated in your first paragraph "majority of society has not yet accepted (and, I might add, hopefully never will) "gay rights," who create an usafe and unhealthy environment for children of gay couples. And your comment that says "most gay relationships are just lust"is one born of ignorance. You judge a gay relationship without having been in one. What qualifies you exactly to know the intricacies of a gay relationship? Maybe you should shut your mouth and stop your fingers from typing things they not of….

I grew up in an extremely religious family, and funnily enough, as anti-gay as my parents and family are they have never treated me with the disrespect that you displayed in this post. And the thing is: if you want to talk about christianity and the true meaning of being a christian, the definition is "Christ Like" Christ never treated anyone the way you so called PERFECT christians treat anyone other than those that belong to your little club. Go back to your bible and in the new testament make sure to read up on the verses where it EXPRESSLY tells you not to judge others because it isn't your place. and then have another read through the new testament where is says that Jesus loved all the sinners and spent time with them and later chastised the pharisees and the scribes for being self-righteous and full of hypocricy. Tell me, are you that faultless that you have never lied, or done anything that is against what the bible tells you to do? Cause funnily enough God tells us that one sin is exactly the same as the other, no one sin is worse than another. So while you are throwing stones at people, just remember that your glass house is just as susceptible… (oh wait, the bible tells you that too – remember to take the plank out of your eye before you try and take the splinter out of your brothers eye." And leave the people "who didn't have a choice in their sexual orientation"alone. Being homosexual is not a lifestyle choice. And I say that from personal experience, because trust me, if there was a way for me to be straight and avoid idiots like you, I would have done it a long time ago. Life would have been much easier. Do you think given the choice, us "homosexuals"would choose this lifestyle so that we can be harassed, judged, treated like lepers from people like you? Think again, and next time you want to post something make sure you know your facts. I could argue religion with you, but it would be pointless, because in this equation the only uneducated fool is you.

fireesstar October 22, 2012 at 12:27 pm

Just for the record. I have a gay daughter. She did not choose to be gay. We knew no one who was gay when she was growing up and she was born before the age of the internet so she did not "read about it " and decide to make a radical life choice.

You are ignorant, and insensitive. I would wish a gay child upon you but you are the type who would reject your own child for being different and there are enough wounded people in the world without you creating another.

gaylilly September 13, 2012 at 9:04 am

Oh, and for your information, I believe in God, and most definitely do not fall under the category of atheist. Once again another generalisation from you on which you are not qualified to make statements.

You contradict yourself so many times in your post i feel like I have whiplash just from reading it.

It almost makes it not worth it to reply or comment on your post, but for sake of my sanity and standing up for those that are like me, I couldn't let your inane comments be left without some form of response.

Go hide in your trailer park with your uneducated hick friends and leave us alone.

dosql September 14, 2012 at 12:34 am

Well, it looks like someone doesn't like being proven wrong… I guess I was a little long-winded in my post, and no, I am not "looking for a good fight," more like a good debate. Let me clarify a few things.
I was opinionated in parts of my reply, and that was wrong in the spirit of objective, intelligent debate. I truly apologize for that.
But to say that by my logic, it was the Jews' own fault for their fate in the holocaust is really going too far out of context. That would be the logic if I had said it was the child's (i.e. Jews in the metaphor) fault that they were being bullied. And Judaism is accepted with no problem in most parts of the world (excluding Muslim-dominated areas), making it accepted by most of society.
Also, straight couples who cannot have children are at least trying to do what is natural, but that is considered a controversial topic, and opinions can easily get in the way, so I'll leave it alone.
As for my generalizations, every homosexual person I know is either atheist, agnostic, or actually anti-theist. If you are Christian (or believe in God at all) that's great, and I'm not trying to judge anybody, but not judging and not questioning are two different things. You call me an uneducated hick who lives in a trailer park, yet you say I'm the one making "generalisations (sic)" that I am not qualified to make.
I noticed that every reply here was picking apart an opinionated, weak part of my argument. That's fine, go for the weak points, but to leave out my analysis of Romney's actions in which I actually AGREED with many of your replies and the article is a logical fallacy.
You will never win any argument if you can only pick out the choicest, easiest-to-prove-wrong parts.

wiseoldsnail November 7, 2013 at 1:16 pm

homosexuality is part of the normal range of sexual expression throughout the animal world

i know it's crazy to expect facts to influence you, but i thought i'd give it a try

fake christians are ruining the world

gaylilly September 14, 2012 at 12:58 am

To clarify from my part:

I only picked at things I PERSONALLY know of… I don't pick at your comments of Romney, because I wasn't there and have absolutely no personal experience or knowledge of the situation and therefore have no right to comment on it.

You may only know atheist or anti-theist or agnostics, but the world is full of gay people, and basing your opinion on the small pool of gays that you know is still a generalisation. Question all you like, but in your post you were judgmental and bombastic.

i sincerely apologize for calling you a hick, in the heat of the moment, i was upset, but the rest of my points are still valid.

Dave_Koch September 29, 2012 at 8:55 pm

Mitt. Shhhhh. Gay people? They're aliens. If you mention that you know this during your next interview, they will all vote for you. Really, just say that you know Gay people are all aliens, and their families are on a distant planet. Then be very, very quiet and stare into the camera, saying nothing for sixty seconds. The aliens will help you Mitt. Trust me on this Mitt.

NANCI00 October 16, 2012 at 9:12 pm

Romney, when running for Senator of Mass. (this is on video) went into a delicatessen to shake hands and ask for votes. He offhandedly said, 'how is your business doing?' and the older woman who owned the place said 'Not so good. We are struggling'.. Romney did that horrible ha ha ha thing and repeated 'struggling!' like it was a good thing and walked out the door. The look on that lady's face… well, I don't blame her for thinking the thoughts that I am sure she was thinking! The man has never gotten his hands dirty. He did not like the smell of dog and strapped the dog's wire crate on top of the family car (he hates dogs.. the boys had begged) for 1000 mile trips at 65 mph.. 12 hours in all weather (cold) and beaten by the wind .. and the man had the nerve to BRAG about the story and answered criticism with 'the dog liked fresh air' and at another interview..'it was an airtight kennel'.. and later in that interview said it was the same crate the dog lived in at home most of the time.. Nice to happily admit the dog was not part of the family (he was grown up, NOT a puppy) but think about the lie.. Airtight? At home? Seriously? The man lies so much he cannot keep track of his lies. Mormons (lies are approved by the Book of Mormon if they work to 'increase' members who in turn will tithe 10% as required!) have become for me suspiciously likely to be the spawning ground of the Anti Christ.

jawkneekat October 21, 2012 at 11:32 am

I love the religious (ie: bigoted) responses in the comments. They pervert their religious beliefs to justify their ugly views of other people who don't fit into their fantasy narrative. I guess it's just human nature to hate other people based on nothing more than prejudice.

Swen_Ardere October 22, 2012 at 12:45 am

"no capacity for empathy". Yep, that's not only Mitt Romney, but Paul Ryan as well. They are both psychopaths. And I'm pretty sure Ann Romney is either psychopathic or darn close. Completely unethical, lying, entitled, spoiled brats. Unfortunately, they reproduced too.

wiseoldsnail November 7, 2013 at 1:17 pm

sociopaths

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