AS IF they needed any encouragement, Mitt Romney’s cynical hiring of openly gay Richard Grenell to sharpen his foreign policy message (and provide some cover for all of the anti-gay stuff Mittens has pledged to support) has “let the dogs out” of the Christian Right.
With Grenell stepping down before he even got started, now anti-gay rights activists like the Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins, Gary Bauer and hateful jackass Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association are crowing about their success in pressuring Romney to get rid of him.
You can, of course, easily make the argument that Republicans, on the whole, are hardly a bunch you could describe as “gay-friendly,” so there becomes the secondary side-issue of why tin-earred pol Romney felt that stirring up a hornet’s nest like this—the prominent hiring of an openly gay man—would benefit him politically with the mouth-breathing GOP base. It’s fucking ridiculous on the face of it, but in doing so, Romney has inadvertently exposed the men behind the curtain who are REALLY pulling his strings: Some of the most extreme Christianist bigots in America!
Last week Bryan Fischer declared that if Mitt Romney wants to win in November, he’d “better start listening to me.” Most of the rest of the week, Fischer discussed firing Grenell and lashed Romney repeatedly for having the audacity to hire an openly gay man as his foreign policy and national security spokesman. Coincidence that Grenell stepped down? I should think not.
“It’s sometimes hard to explain to outsiders what level of principle is required to withstand the personal cost of being an out gay Republican. I’ve only ever been a gay conservative (never a Republican), and back in the 1990s, it was brutal living in the gay world and challenging liberal assumptions. I cannot imagine the social isolation of Grenell in Los Angeles today, doing what he did. And his reward for such loyalty, sincerity and pugnacity? Vilification. I mean: what do Republicans call a gay man with neoconservative passion, a committed relationship and personal courage? A faggot.”
The Stonewall Democrats had this to say:
Mitt Romney sat silently and let the bigoted wing of his party control his personnel choices. Either Mitt Romney is a coward who is afraid to stand up to the anti-LGBT bullies in his party, or he is fine with an America where LGBT people can have a career only if they’re willing to work quietly from the confines of the closet. Gay Republicans should be outraged and must demand that the organizations that represent them refuse to support Mitt Romney’s presidential aspirations in any way.”
The Human Rights Campaign’s statement:
From the moment Richard Grennell signed on as Mitt Romney’s Foreign Policy and National Security Spokesman, he faced a torrent of unfounded criticism from the far right. Not once did the Romney campaign condemn these attacks and support Grennell. Mitt Romney capitulating to the demands of extremist anti-gay groups is nothing new. He has donated to the rabidly anti-gay National Organization for Marriage and the Massachusetts Family Institute. He has even signed a NOM vow that binds him to appoint only anti-gay judges and establish a McCarthy-era commission to investigate the activities of those who support LGBT equality. The fact that Grennell is gone so quickly after a right-wing uproar is a troubling harbinger of the kind of power that anti-gay forces would have in a Romney White House.
Michelangelo Signorile makes an important point on Huffington Post:
Actually, I believe this is a big win for progressives and for gay journalists and commentators as well. We drew out the conservative leaders in addition to Fischer, like Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins, Gary Bauer and other commentators on National Review and Daily Caller, by bringing forth and continually highlighting the true facts about Grenell, which, to most Americans, are completely acceptable, but which, in the eyes of the evangelical right, make him a radical homosexual. As I wrote in a post last week, Grenell isn’t just gay, like some other gay Republicans who stay quiet about their homosexuality. He’s a gay man who very publicly expressed that he wants to get married to another man and who believes President Obama isn’t adequate on LGBT rights.
Why is it this a win? Because Grenell was being used for cover by a candidate with abhorrently anti-gay positions, a man who has promised to “propose and promote” a federal marriage amendment if elected president. I don’t buy the argument made by some that it was a measure of progress that Romney hired a gay man as his foreign policy spokesperson when he’s using that gay man to make himself appear moderate to independents while he’s promising the GOP base that he’ll make gay people into second class citizens. Actual progress in the GOP will come when their presidential candidates stop bowing to bigots and refuse to sign their extremist pledges. Otherwise, it’s all window dressing.
He’s 100% correct on this matter. During the second hour of Fischer’s radio show yesterday, the news broke about Grenell’s resignation from the Romney campaign. Watch as a gleeful Fischer declares it a “huge win” for Christian conservatives because A) they forced Romney’s hand to get rid of Grenell and B) they taught him what his boundaries are!
Elect Mitt Romney and get THIS GUY, too: