Romney v. Obama: Bullying
October 24, 2012 by Dan Rafter, Associate Director of Communications
President Obama and Mitt Romney stand in contrast to one another on virtually every issue of LGBT equality. Youth bullying is one of the areas where the two candidates couldn’t be further apart from one another – while President Obama has made tangible efforts in office to elevate the problematic issue of bullying and address its serious consequences, Mitt Romney has defunded programs for LGBT youth and even has a past history of bullying a fellow classmate based on his perceived sexual orientation.
In March 2011, President Obama hosted a bullying prevention summit. During that summit, he declared:
We’ve got to make sure our young people know that if they’re in trouble, there are caring adults who can help.... And this is a responsibility we all share – a responsibility we have to teach all children the Golden Rule: We should treat others the way we want to be treated.
The President also recorded an “It Gets Better” video in 2010. View his video.
And then there’s Mitt Romney.
While serving as governor of Massachusetts, Romney took on the Governor’s Commission on Gay and Lesbian Youth – which was actually created by a previous Republican governor back in 1992. Romney vetoed $100,000 in funding for the commission. After the state legislature overrode his veto and restored funding, Romney threatened to disband the commission altogether. He eventually settled on broadening the mission beyond LGBT youth – a move that caused state lawmakers to create a new commission to specifically address the needs of LGBT bullying. Romney then disbanded the original Governor’s Commission on Gay and Lesbian Youth.
One year later, the Massachusetts Department of Public Health put the brakes on an anti-bullying guide after consulting with Governor Romney’s office. The reason? The guide used terms like “bisexual” and “transgendered.” The guides were eventually published when Governor Deval Patrick took office.
Perhaps most disturbing are accounts of Romney himself leading bullying while at high school in Michigan. Fellow classmates recall Romney perpetually teasing a classmate perceived to be gay, at one point yelling to the long-haired classmate, “He can’t look like that. That’s wrong. Just look at him!” Eventually the verbal harassment turned into physical violence, when Romney led a group of students who tackled him, pinned him to the ground, and cut his hair with a pair of scissors, all because Romney didn’t like the way he looked.
You know what’s at stake this Election Day. Get the facts at www.hrc.org/romney.
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