With days to go before the election, Mitt Romney is trying to pivot to the moderate middle on LGBT issues and sadly, the Log Cabin Republicans have been desperate to provide that cover. But the problem with Mittens is that he has a significant history — and record — of nasty homophobia that he rolled out as policy while Governor of Massachusetts. The Boston Globe recalls one bit of business he cannot Etch-A-Sketch away (and his campaign will not comment on), in documents recently obtained by the newspaper.
To comply with the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruling that legalized gay marriage in 2003, the state Registry of Vital Records and Statistics said it needed to revise its birth certificate forms for babies born to same-sex couples. The box for “father” would be relabeled “father or second parent,’’ reflecting the new law.
But to then-Governor Mitt Romney, who opposed child-rearing by gay couples, the proposal symbolized unacceptable changes in traditional family structures.
He rejected the Registry of Vital Records plan and insisted that his top legal staff individually review the circumstances of every birth to same-sex parents. Only after winning approval from Romney’s lawyers could hospital officials and town clerks across the state be permitted to cross out by hand the word “father’’ on individual birth certificates, and then write in “second parent,’’ in ink.
…The practice of requiring high-level legal review continued for the rest of Romney’s term, despite a warning from a Department of Public Health lawyer who said such a system placed the children of same-sex parents at an unfair disadvantage.
Governor Romney on same-sex couples raising children…
“The children of America have the right to have a father and a mother,’’ Romney said in his prepared remarks. “What should be the ideal for raising a child? Not a village, not ‘parent A’ and ‘parent B,’ but a mother and a father…Scientific studies of children raised by same-sex couples are almost nonexistent. It may affect the development of children and thereby future society as a whole.’’ – before the Senate Judiciary Committee in Washington.
“Some gays are actually having children born to them. It’s not right on paper. It’s not right in fact. Every child has a right to a mother and father.’’ – during a speech in 2005 to socially conservative voters in South Carolina
The state’s Department of Public Health warned Romney that his intervention placed children at a disadvantage, particularly later in life as they tried to obtain various forms of identification such as a passport or driver’s license, or as they registered to vote. The same DPH official also warned that allowing officials to alter birth certificates by hand – as opposed to simply revising the forms, as the state’s Registry of Vital Records and Statistics had recommended – was tantamount to a violation of statutes, and would impair efforts to keep organized state records.
Romney, who has a significant track record of deriding LGBT families and speaking out against relationship recognition, appeared not to care what impact his close oversight of same-sex families had on the law. The Globe reports that emails between Romney officials and the Department of Public Health contained details about the marriages and births of dozens of families.
“It’s appalling that Mitt Romney would create so many additional obstacles for same-sex parents, particularly when the path to starting a family is already so hard for LGBT people,” said HRC President Chad Griffin. “Romney prioritized his own distaste for LGBT people over the well-being of children in Massachusetts. Mitt Romney didn’t care that these children would face a lifetime of obstacles in obtaining legal documentation for things like getting a driver’s license or registering to vote; he only cared about making sure same-sex parents felt abnormal and isolated simply because they wanted to start a family.”
“We don’t advocate for candidates; We advocate for families, and we’ve long known of the difficulties that parents who are LGBT had under Gov. Romney’s leadership,” said Executive Director Jennifer Chrisler. “Voters on November 6th will have a clear choice between the records of Gov. Romney and President Obama, and they should arm themselves with information, facts, and the positions of both these men when they enter the voting booth. I, for one, will be voting for my family.”
Nope, you can’t erase this, Mitt. But yet he tries. Ben Adler at The Nation:
[ENDA] is not the only issue of civil rights for gays and lesbians that Romney has confused the public about his stance on. [LCR's R. Clarke] Cooper gave me three examples of gay rights issues Romney supports, besides workplace discrimination: adoption for gay couples, serving in the military, and hospital visitation rights for partners. The Romney campaign has undermined Cooper’s claims on two of those.
Back in May, Romney told Fox News that “[gay couples] have a right,” to adopt children. But the very next day he told CBS affiliate WBTV in Charlotte, North Carolina, that he was observing a national consensus, not asserting a belief of his own. “That’s a position which has been decided by most of the state legislatures,” said Romney. “So I simply acknowledge the fact that gay adoption is legal in all states but one.”
Regarding hospital visitation rights, Romney surrogate Bay Buchanan said after Monday’s presidential debate that Romney believes decisions on gay marriage and related issues such as hospital visitation and adoption should be left up to the states. This was off-message to both the right and the left. It blatantly contradicts Romney’s pledge to support a federal ban on gay marriage. But it also implies that Romney would reverse the Obama administration’s 2010 executive order requiring hospitals participating in Medicare and Medicaid to recognize the visitation rights of gay couples.
…The politics of gay rights are forcing Romney to perform these feats of contortion. Put broadly, his religious right base opposes civil rights for gays across the board, while a majority of the public supports them, except for marriage, on which the public is roughly evenly divided. As a general election candidate that makes Romney’s optimal position supportive of all gay rights except marriage. But that would alienate his base. (Since Romney has virtually no known actual principles on anything, the only relevant factors here are his political incentives.)
The man has no principles, but we do know who holds his leash…Bryan Fischer of the hate group American Family Association. Fischer issued this threat if Romney went anywhere near anti-discrimination legislation…and surely this would pertain to any advocacy for adoption rights for same-sex couples.
If Governor Romney gives up any ground on ENDA that is a huge problem for social conservatives. ENDA will do to every Christian businessman in America what Obama’s abortion mandate does to hospitals, which is robs them of religious freedom and freedom of conscience and their constitutional right to freedom of association. I think if a President Romney were to give an impetus to an ENDA-like bill that would create a firestorm in his conservative base. It would not be smart politics for him to do that, as well as being wrong.
No need to pivot, Mitt. It’s too late.