As Governor, Romney Tried to Eliminate a State Commission Focused on Protecting LGBT Youth

Gov. Mitt Romney at a 2006 press conference

Wow! Today is not a good day for Mitt Romney. First the Washington post comes out with a major article on his career as a bully and gay bash in high school and now Talking Points Memo has learned that Romney was so up-tight about Boston’s gay parade in 2006, that he threatened to get rid of an LGBT anti-bullying commission formed by previous Republican Governor Bill Weld in 1992 after he learned about the shocking rate of suicide among gay school children.

Check this out from a May 12, 2006 Boston Globe article (via TPM):

Angered that his name appeared on a press release touting a gay pride parade, Governor Mitt Romney moved yesterday to curtail the activities of a 14-year-old advisory commission on gay and lesbian youth.

The commission chairwoman, Kathleen M. Henry, said she was called yesterday by Beth Myers, the governor’s chief of staff, who told her that the governor planned to issue an executive order ”revoking our existence” and creating another youth commission whose purview would be all of the state’s youth, not just gays and lesbians. The commission would have all new members, she said.

Romney later backed down after being “inundated…with outrage.”

Administration sources said Romney’s aides were angered by an ”unauthorized” news release issued by the commission March 27 announcing this weekend’s Youth Pride parade. The release, which described the celebration of ”gay, lesbian, bisexual, transgender, and queer youth and their supporters,” went out on official state stationery, with the names of Romney and Lieutenant Governor Kerry Healey appearing with the names of the commission chairwoman and vice chair.

They were apparently also freaked out by a meeting with Brian Camenker, a right wing “activist,” who showed them pictures of the previous year’s parade and suggested Romney wouldn’t go over well as a national candidate if he lent his name to such shocking goings-on.

”Last year [at the parade] they had boys in fishnet stockings and high heels parading down Boylston Street,” Camenker said. ”They had boys dressed as women embracing. We presented stuff, and they were visibly sickened by what they saw. I said, basically, this group has to go. It’s so manifestly destructive to kids that you have to get rid of it. They said they’d do something.”

Allowing the commission to remain in existence demonstrates ”pure cowardice on the governor’s part,” he said. ”This shows that Romney probably doesn’t have what it takes to run the country if he can’t even make a decision about this.”

Eventually the anti-bullying group started an independent commission so they wouldn’t have to deal with Romney’s squeamishness about homosexuality. And this guy is running around the country claiming President Obama is living in the past.

Feel free to use this as an open thread.


25 Comments on “As Governor, Romney Tried to Eliminate a State Commission Focused on Protecting LGBT Youth”

  1. Seriously says:

    Oh, Lord. Remember when Brian Camenker was holding rallies outside Macy’s to protest trangender mannequins? What in the world is the Governor doing taking meetings with utter crackpots? He would have been better occupied spending 4 years trying to bring detente to the factions supporting the Toll House Cookie versus the Fig Newton.

    • bostonboomer says:

      No. I’ve never heard of him before. I’m going to have to google him.

      Funny how the right wing nuts are afraid a gay pride parade, but it never occurs to them that children might get the wrong idea from parades that celebrate the military, war, and death.

      • Seriously says:

        That’s a really excellent point. He’s the head of MassResistance, they were active around the time of all the challenges to teh SJC decision on equal marriage. Just total, total crackpot. The fact that the Governor was inviting these people to the State House in incredibly disturbing. I think someone from Mass Resistance was also caught being creepy at a school, taking pictures of kids and freaking out the teachers and parents. Pandering to our loonier fellow citizens didn’t help Romney at all, either. He wasn’t obsessively anti-gay enough for them, so they were always after him when he was in office, and then I think cammenker endorsed Santorum and paid for a bunch of robocalls. They hate him a bunch.

      • bostonboomer says:

        Thanks. I added a link to their website with the photos to the post.

      • Seriously says:

        MassResistance is deemed a hate-group by the Southern Poverty Law Center, so that speaks for itself…

    • bostonboomer says:

      Now that I think about it, that mannequin story rings a bell.

  2. bostonboomer says:

    Obama’s gay marriage announcement followed by flood of campaign donations.

    • bostonboomer says:

      “This is a bold step in the right direction for equal protection under the law for all citizens,” Jackson told the Los Angeles Times on Thursday morning. But, he said, he wished the president had gone further, pushing for federal protection for all citizens instead of leaving the controversial issue of gay marriage up to the states to decide.

      If other hard-won civil rights battles had been left up to the states, Jackson said, African Americans would have been on the losing end of those battles.

      He’s right. We need an Equal Rights Amendment for all.

      • northwestrain says:


        I’ve always liked Rev. Jesse Jackson. He has a way with words.

      • RalphB says:

        I would imagine we will see more as the election nears or after, assuming he wins. Jesse is correct in that no minority rights should ever be put up for a vote or left to the states. There should be a general guideline at the federal level as part of civil rights law.

        Just think what could happen in South Carolina or Mississippi if they got to vote on segregating again. I hate the thought of something like that.

      • northwestrain says:

        or burning witches (women) at the stake.

        OH wait — states are already doing that — women who miscarry or terminate their own pregnancies are jailed or taken to court — Idaho is one example. (Idaho is another state with a large LDS population).

        South Carolina was one of the first states to introduce such a foetal homicide law. National Advocates for Pregnant Women has found only one case of a South Carolina man who assaulted a pregnant woman having been charged under its terms, and his conviction was eventually overturned. Yet the group estimates there have been up to 300 women arrested for their actions during pregnancy.

        In other states laws designed to protect children against the damaging effects of drugs have similarly been twisted to punish childbearers.

        We might wonder what happens to bullies when they grow up — perhaps many become politicians.

      • pdgrey says:

        Yes, and that’s the problem.

  3. northwestrain says:

    There is so much hatred in Romney — listing to that ad put out by team 0bama — watching Romney’s body language and his voice when speaking about civil unions etc is very telling. I’m suspecting that his body language and voice would be the same if asked if he supported the passage of the ERA. Women to him as a Mormon elder are less than human and homosexuals are non humans to Romney.

    he threatened to get rid of an LGBT anti-bullying commission formed by previous Republican Governor Bill Weld in 1992 after he learned about the shocking rate of suicide among gay school children.

    Romney is still a bully — that is part of his core personality.

  4. bostonboomer says:

    Chris Matthews just made a great point. Mitt Romney recently had a chance to stand up to bullies who forced Richard Grenell out of his campaign. Romney could have stood up and taken a stand, and he chose not to.

    The people who are saying that how people act in high school says nothing about their character are dead wrong. I never bullied anyone in high school. Most people don’t. Mitt Romney is still bullying people.

  5. RalphB says:

    Willard’s Mittastrophe is starting to remind me of …

  6. bostonboomer says:

    Classmate of Mitt Romney’s “Describes Behavior As ‘Evil’ And ‘Like Lord Of The Flies’

    • northwestrain says:

      How could the guy with the scissors forget — Mitt’s apology is meaningless words.

      My granddad had stories about the bullying ways of the Mormon leadership. I’m realizing that his stories were based on a lot of truth. ex-Mormons who have escaped — especially the ones who are gay also have stories bullying by members of the LDS. Of course the bullying church member could be any of a number of Fundamentalist Christian Taliban. Bullies are wide spread in the extreme right.

      Romney is a bully who just happens to also be a leader within the LDS.

  7. bostonboomer says:

    Charlie Pierce on Romney’s character:

    If there’s one thing you can say about Romney in his career as a politician is that there is nobody who he doesn’t consider expendable, whether that is a staffer, a friend, an ally, or any particular group of constituents who presume to think that, just because they elected him, he owes them something. He is Nixon without the awesome, class-bred insecurities. Nixon knew when he was being vicious. He gloried in it. The White House tapes drip with his self-indulgent tough-guy crap through which you can see the quivering little grocer’s son. That insecurity may be the only thing that saved the Republic. Willard Romney never has known that insecurity for a day in his life. He is casually vicious and he doesn’t even recognize that he is.

    To Willard Romney, voters vote for him because it is their job to vote for him, their part in the work of a righteous universe to give him whatever it is he wants. It was the job of the workers at Ampad to get fired so that he could make more money because that is what the immutable laws of that righteous universe demanded. It is the job of the media to let him talk about what he wants to talk about — he’s bone-ignorant about Iran, too, by the way — because that will further his goal to be president which is where the immutable laws of the righteous universe want him to be. It is the job of all of us to be partners in the immutably decreed apotheosis of Willard Romney, because that, my dear man, is the way things simply ought to be.

  8. Fannie says:

    R.I.P – Nicholas Katzenbach 1922 – 2012

    Never forget him standing at the door and telling Gov. George Wallace to step aside and let the two black students enroll at Tuscaloosa, Ala. 1963

  9. And we thought it was bad of Romney to bully and mistreat his dog…Perhaps there should be a group formed from the GLBT community against Romney.