Mitt Romney: I'd Be Better for Gay Rights than Ted Kennedy

In an interview with Bay Windows, a New England gay and lesbian newspaper, Mitt Romney insists that he'll be better for gay rights than Ted Kennedy. According to Romney, as a Republican his advocacy for gay rights will be taken more seriously and treated as a more moderate position.

BW: Why should the gay community support your campaign when Ted Kennedy has been a strong supporter of civil rights issues and the gay community?

Mitt Romney: Well, I think you're partially right in characterizing Ted Kennedy as supportive of the gay community, and I respect the work and the efforts he's made on behalf of the gay community and for civil rights more generally, and I would continue that fight.

There's something to be said for having a Republican who supports civil rights in this broader context, including sexual orientation. When Ted Kennedy speaks on gay rights, he's seen as an extremist. When Mitt Romney speaks on gay rights, he's seen as a centrist and a moderate.

It's a little like if Eugene McCarthy was arguing in favor of recognizing China, people would have called him a nut. But when Richard Nixon does it, it becomes reasonable. When Ted says it, it's extreme; when I say it, it's mainstream.

I think the gay community needs more support from the Republican party and I would be a voice in the Republican party to foster anti-discrimination efforts.

To understand these comments, it's important to understand just how strong of an advocate Ted Kennedy has been over the years. It will take a while even for other Democrats to reach the same level of support for gay Americans that Ted Kennedy's constituents already take for granted: support for marriage equality, for expanded AIDS research, repeal of 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell,' repeal of the Defense of Marriage Act, and protections for gays and lesbians from discrimination in employment, benefits, housing, etc.

Thus for Mitt Romney to say that he would be better for gay rights than Ted Kennedy is to argue that he will be one of the most vociferous, left-wing proponents of gay rights and gay equality in the entire nation.


Mitt Romney On Gay Rights, Mormonism & Homosexuality

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