HRC Blog

Romney’s Shockingly Cold Rejection of LGBT Families

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

A new article is revealing details about Mitt Romney that paint a shockingly cold picture of his refusal to recognize or respect same-sex families. Earlier this year, HRC released a comprehensive report on Mitt Romney’s LGBT track record dating back nearly two decades – illustrating a Romney eager to woo the LGBT community in 1994 as he challenged Ted Kennedy for a seat in the U.S. Senate, but who quickly embraced his anti-LGBT animus while serving as a governor with increasingly national ambitions.

The article in the Boston Spirit puts a personal spin on Romney’s time as governor, offering insight from various individuals who directly interacted with him on LGBT issues. Perhaps the most disturbing account comes from Julie Goodridge, a plaintiff in the historic case that led to marriage equality in Massachusetts. Months after the ruling, Goodridge and others finally obtained a meeting with Romney. During that meeting, the Spirit reports that Romney sat silently and was not moved by the personal stories the various attendees were sharing about what marriage equality meant to them – and how it would protect their families. At one point, Romney even said to the group “I didn’t know you had families.”

That comment rings eerily similar to an offensive remark Romney would make several years later in South Carolina, when he was decrying marriage equality in his state to a crowd and remarked that, “Some are actually having children born to them.”

As Goodridge was leaving that 2004 meeting, she asked Governor Romney how she should explain to her daughter why her two moms couldn’t marry. Governor Romney’s cold, detached response:

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.

Read the full story in the Spirit. The accounts are troubling but paint a clear picture of Mitt Romney – a governor who was incapable of comprehending how same-sex families felt ostracized and vulnerable because of his refusal to respect them; a governor who was uncomfortable with issues of gender identity and even blocked the publication of a bullying guidebook for schools simply because it included the words ‘transgender’ and ‘bisexual;’ and a governor whose administration fired a respected lesbian commissioner because they wanted someone more “like them” to fill her role.

Unfortunately, we still see these examples of Mitt Romney’s leadership style repeating themselves: he has consistently spoken out against any form of relationship recognition.  He doesn’t support workplace protections of any kind. He refuses to grant dignity to same-sex families. He even shrugs off responsibility for his own anti-gay bullying as a high school student.  

Let there be no confusion about the kind of dignity and respect LGBT Americans would receive under a President Romney. Learn more at

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