Mitt Romney Vs Barack Obama on Gay RightsAs we head into a 2012 presidential election battle, there are many issues to consider when voting for a candidate. There is the economy, health care, women’s rights, foreign relations, and social security. Many Americans are also concerned with the issue of gay rights and which candidate will do the most to preserve the gains that LGBT Americans have made over the past decade.
Here is a summary of some of the issues that affect the LGBT community and where each candidate stands on those issues.
Mitt Romney VS. Barack Obama on LGBT IssuesGay Marriage:
President Obama has come out in favor of same-sex marriage. In a historic statement in May 2012 President Obama said his feelings about same-sex marriage have evolved and he now supports full marriage equality for gay and lesbian Americans.
Although the Defense of Marriage Act has not been repealed, President Obama announced in February 2011 that the Department of Justice would no longer defend this discriminatory law.
Mitt Romney and the official Republican Party Platform are opposed to same-sex marriage. Under the guise of “protecting traditional marriage” Mitt Romney’s campaign supports denying gays and lesbians all the rights and responsibilities that come along with making a lasting legal commitment to a husband or wife. The official party statement is “…we believe that marriage, the union of one man and one woman must be upheld as the national standard, a goal to stand for, encourage, and promote through laws governing marriage.” Even though Massachusetts was the first state to legalize same-sex marriage while Mitt Romney was governor, he has made his opposition to gay marriage very clear.
Same-Sex AdoptionMitt Romney is opposed to gay and lesbian adoption and even seems to be opposed to gay and lesbian families raising children at all. At a presidential debate on October 21, 2007 he said “I’ve been in a state that has gay marriage and I recognize that the consequences of gay marriage fall far beyond the relationship between just a man and a woman. They also relate to our kids and the right of religion to be practiced…For instance, I want to make sure that our kids have a mom and a dad.”
President Obama believes that we must ensure adoption rights for all couples and individuals, regardless of their sexual orientation. He thinks that a child will benefit from a healthy and loving home, whether the parents are gay or not.
Gays in the MilitaryOne of President Obama’s most celebrated accomplishments was to overturn of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” the ban that forbid gay and lesbian soldiers from serving openly in the United States Military.
In the past, Mitt Romney has stated he is opposed to allowing gay soldiers to serve in the military, but in his 2012 official platform he is purposely vague on the issue, which has an overwhelming public support. The platform states: “We reject the use of the military as a platform for social experimentation. We will conduct an objective review of the current administration’s management of military personnel and will correct any problems with appropriate administrative of legal action.”
Hate Crimes LegislationPresident Obama passed the Matthew Shepard and James Byrd, Jr. Hate Crimes Prevention Act in October 2009. This historic piece of legislation expanded current hate crime law to include protections for victims of crimes motivated by a victim’s actual or perceived gender, sexual orientation, gender identity, or disability.
Mitt Romney on the other hand has opposed LGBT inclusion in hate crime legislation. When he was Massachusetts Governor in 2003, he vetoed a bill funding hate crime prevention. He eliminated all funding for hate crime prevention when he took office in 2003.
BullyingPresident Obama: With several high-profile cases of bullying being reported in the media, President Obama and First Lady Michelle Obama hosted the first-ever White House Conference on bullying prevention in March 2011. They formed a bullying steering committee to explore ways in which explores ways the federal government can help prevent bullying.
President Obama also participated in the "It Gets Better Campaign" and made a video in which he stated, “I don’t know what it’s like to be picked on for being gay. But I do know what it’s like to grow up feeling that sometimes you don’t belong. It’s tough. And for a lot of kids, the sense of being alone or apart – I know can just wear on you. And when you’re teased or bullied, it can seem like somehow you brought it on yourself – for being different, or for not fitting in with everybody else. But what I want to say is this. You are not alone. You didn’t do anything wrong. You didn’t do anything to deserve being bullied. And there is a whole world waiting for you, filled with possibilities. There are people out there who love you and care about you just the way you are.”
Mitt Romney: Several news outlets reported that Mitt Romney bullied a fellow student at his prestigious Michigan boarding school in 1965. Mitt Romney and a group of fellow students complained about a fellow student with long blonde hair and later a group held the student down while Romney cut off this boy’s hair. Romney has said he doesn’t remember the incident, but later apologized. "As to pranks that were played back then, I don't remember them all, but again, high school days, I did stupid things. … And if anyone was hurt by that or offended, obviously I apologize for that."
Also, while he was Governor of Massachusetts, Mitt Romney supported funding for a program to create safe schools for LGBT teens.