A couple of weeks ago, a friend alerted me to a report about a “pair of liberal super PACs are teaming up on a new Web campaign that accuses Mitt Romney of advancing an ‘extreme anti-LGBT agenda’ that would make life worse for gay, lesbian, bisexual, and transgender Americans.”
Those who run the “Courage Campaign Super PAC and American Bridge 21st Century” seem a lot like certain social conservatives who believe that politicians can undo the social change of the past quarter-century. Those on the left fear the election of Republicans because they contend Republicans are dedicated to undermining that change. Meanwhile, social conservatives wish to use the GOP as a vehicle to undermine it.
While Mitt Romney has come out in favor of the a constitutional amendment defining marriage, there is no likelihood that such an amendment could muster the necessary two-thirds majority in either house of Congress as the first step toward ratification.
Not just that, as per her comments in January during he ABC/Yahoo!/WMUR New Hampshire GOP primary debate, the presumptive Republican nominee doesn’t seem to have adopted social conservatives attitudes on gay issues. Instead, he offered that it was “a wonderful thing” for “gay people to form loving, committed, long-term relationships”:
. . . and that there’s every right for people in this country to form long- term committed relationships with one another. That doesn’t mean that they have to call it marriage or they have to receive the — the approval of the state and a marriage license and so forth for that to occur.
There can be domestic partnership benefits or — or a contractual relationship between two people, which would include, as — as Speaker Gingrich indicated, hospital visitation rights and the like. We can decide what kinds of benefits we might associate with people who form those kind of relationships, state by state.
Doesn’t sound like a man who wants to work hard to stop the social and political change that has lead to increased corporate and state recognition of same-sex relationships. And bear in mind, the now-presumptive Republican nominee made these comments at the outset of the campaign for the Republican presidential nomination when social conservative opposition to his candidacy could have had a more devastating effect than it could in the fall campaign.
To cast Mitt Romney as some kind of demon dedicated to making things worse for gay Americans as are these liberal super PACs is to ignore his record and his record. Romney may be wrong on state recognition of our unions, but has demonstrated no animus toward gay people.
Not just that, in the course of his campaign, he has made clear his focus will be economic. To help fix the problems he will inherit should he win reelection, Romney won’t have time to devote to gay issues. Nor does his governing and campaign rhetoric show that he has an interest in expending the effort, e.g., appealing to the public and lobbying legislators, to change minds on gat marriage.
No, alas, election of Mitt Romney will not mean the federal government will, as it should, recognize same-sex unions, but then the election of Barack Obama back in 2008 didn’t do anything to effect that recognition.