My friend Chris Baker is a right-wing radio talk show host in Houston. Some of his views are not much different than mine but some are. I was thinking of Chris this morning as I was reading about Mitt Romney’s stand on gay marriage and whether or not Mitt bullied gays when he was in High School in 1965. Chris would say these issues are smoke and mirrors designed to take our eyes off of the real issues. I don’t agree. Chris is not gay. He has a “trophy wife,” which he brags about regularly and while there is nothing wrong with that (I am happy for Chris) Chris cannot possibly understand what being gay in this country means to those of us who are. Chris was not bullied for being gay. Chris has a trophy wife in the covenant of marriage, he doesn’t face anti-gay discrimination. While “gay” is not an issue for him…it is for us.
I agree with Chris that we have more pressing issues but this issue deserves discussion and it would be nice to hear everyone weigh in it so that we have a picture of where they stand. Presumptive GOP presidential nominee Mitt Romney said he is opposed to civil unions and gay marriage on the same day that President Barack Obama became the first sitting President to back same-sex marriage. “Well, when these issues were raised in my state of Massachusetts, I indicated my view, which is I do not favor marriage between people of the same gender, and I do not favor civil unions if they are identical to marriage other than by name,” the former Massachusetts governor told KDVR-TV. “My view is the domestic partnership benefits, hospital visitation rights, and the like are appropriate but that the others are not.”
Mitt Romney apologized Thursday to classmates he may have offended by “hijinks and pranks during high school” and insisted he didn’t know that some were gay. The Republican presidential candidate issued the apology during a hastily arranged radio interview after The Washington Post reported Thursday that he had held down classmate John Lauber and cut off his bleached blond hair when they were students at a prestigious boarding school in the wealthy Detroit suburb of Bloomfield Hills, Mich. The Post suggested Lauber was bullied because he was gay. “The people involved didn’t come out of the closet until years later,” Romney told a Fox News radio show. “I had no idea that this person might have been gay.” “I participated in a lot of hijinks and pranks during high school and some may have gone too far. And for that I apologize,” he added.
The report and Romney’s defense come as his inconsistent record on gay-rights — though iron-clad opposition to gay unions — is coming under scrutiny following President Barack Obama’s embrace of same-sex marriage. He defended some gay rights when he ran for governor of Massachusetts but was a leading voice against gay marriage when courts made it legal in the state. The Post report cites five classmates of Romney’s at Cranbrook School recounting details of Romney’s encounter with Lauber, whose bleached blond hair fell into his face. Romney led a group of boys that tackled Lauber. Romney cut off his hair with scissors as Lauber’s eyes were “filling with tears,” according to the Post. The paper also recounted another incident where Romney shouted “atta girl” at a different student who, years later, came out as gay. Romney was asked about Lauber during the radio interview. “I don’t remember that incident,” he said. “I certainly don’t believe that I thought the fellow was homosexual. That was the furthest thing from our minds back in the 1960s.” Lauber is now deceased, the Post said.
Why do all of this matter? Because Romney is on the campaign trail and apt to say anything. So is President Obama but here is the difference ON THIS ISSUE. Obama has passed “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” and has come out in support in same-sex marriage. Romney is a liar, pandering to the far right. Chris wishes we weren’t talking about this and so do I but we are looking at it through different glasses. The only way to get social issues out of the national political dialogue is to get the government out of our private lives.