HRC Blog

Romney and Santorum Debate Statements Don’t Match Their Actions

Post submitted by Dan Rafter, Former HRC Associate Director of Communications

Republican presidential candidates Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum were asked questions about their support for gay Americans and the issues important to them during a Meet the Press/Facebook debate earlier today, and both candidates said they opposed discrimination and provided answers that affirmed the role of LGBT people in our society. Unfortunately, today’s debate rhetoric does not match the reality of their policy positions or their past actions.

Both Mitt Romney and Rick Santorum have signed the National Organization for Marriage’s extremist anti-LGBT pledge. According to the pledge, Romney and Santorum, if elected, would set-up a McCarthy-like commission to investigate alleged incidents of “harassment” against NOM’s supporters, defend the discriminatory Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), push for a federal marriage amendment, and appoint anti-gay judges.

Romney’s record on protections for LGBT Americans does not match his rhetoric. Despite once pledging to co-sponsor a federal version of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act, Romney now says federal workplace protections for LGBT Americans would “open a litigation floodgate and unfairly penalize employers at the hands of activist judges.” Romney did not support ending the discriminatory ban on gays and lesbians serving in the military. Despite once calling open service a “shared goal” of his and the LGBT community, he later said the policy should be kept in place and did not support its repeal.

Rick Santorum’s anti-LGBT vitriol has become his life’s work. Santorum consistently voted against hate crimes legislation that would protect LGBT Americans. He voted against workplace protections for LGBT people and was an early and vocal supporter of DOMA. Santorum also spreads harmful misinformation through his words – he has equated marriage equality to polygamy, has likened even the most basic forms of relationship recognition to confusing inanimate objects like cars, trees and basketballs; and has said allowing gay and lesbian service members to serve openly is a “tragic social experiment.”

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