Press Room

HRC: Romney and Santorum Debate Statements Today Don’t Match Their Actions

01/08/2012

Washington – In response to questions this morning during the Meet the Press/Facebook debate, Republican presidential candidates Governor Mitt Romney and Senator Rick Santorum were asked questions about their support for gay Americans and the issues important to them. Providing further proof that Americans have evolved in favor of greater acceptance and equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) Americans, both candidates stated that 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.

In response, Joe Solmonese, president of the Human Rights Campaign, the nation's largest LGBT civil rights organization, stated, “Governor Romney and Senator Santorum today provided thoughtful and constructive answers to the questions they were asked about gay Americans. If only they had been that thoughtful when they crafted their various policy positions. Both candidates say they oppose discrimination, yet they’re also opposed to laws that would be make it illegal to fire LGBT people. Both candidates profess inclusion yet they also want to deny patriotic Americans the right to defend their country. You can’t say one thing simply because it sounds good but yet continue to act in a manner that is completely at odds with that rhetoric.”

There is no federal law inclusive of LGBT people that bans workplace discrimination. It remains legal in 29 states to fire someone on the basis of their sexual orientation and in 34 states on the basis of their gender identity.

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.”

The Human Rights Campaign is America’s largest civil rights organization working to achieve lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender equality. By inspiring and engaging all Americans, HRC strives to end discrimination against LGBT citizens and realize a nation that achieves fundamental fairness and equality for all.

 

Paid for by the Human Rights Campaign (www.hrc.org) and not authorized by any candidate or candidate's committee

 

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