US Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney reportedly wanted a gay man to lead his political campaign, it was revealed yesterday (16 September).
According to Politico.com, the anti-gay politician made reported pleas to Ken Mehlman, the manager of George W Bush’s re-election campaign in 2004.
Mehlman, who drove voters to the polls by focusing on anti-gay marriage legislation, came out in 2010.
The most high-profile Republican to ever come out as gay at the time, he acknowledged if he had publicly declared his sexuality sooner, he might have played a role in keeping the party from pushing an anti-gay agenda.
‘It’s a legitimate question and one I understand,’ Mehlman told The Atlantic. ‘I can’t change the fact that I wasn’t in this personally when I was in politics, and I genuinely regret that.
It is believed Mehlman refused the job because Romney has formed a long standing partnership with the anti-gay religious right.
Mehlman, while still a Republican, is now working to further same-sex marriage.
In a pre-recorded message on Friday (14 September), Romney thanked certified hate group Family Rights Council (FRC) for ‘their leadership’ at the Values Voter Summit, shortly after they had prayed for the criminalization of homosexuality in the United States.
Earlier this year, Romney hired openly gay Richard Grenell as his national security spokesman.
Two weeks later Grenell decided to leave after FRC head Bryan Fischer and other anti-gay Republicans who slammed his appointment.
A Republican adviser, who insisted on anonymity, told The Times said: ‘It’s not that the campaign cared whether Ric Grenell was gay.
‘They believed this was a non-issue. But they didn’t want to confront the religious right.’
Human Rights Campaign president Joe Solmonese slammed the Romney campaign for its handling of the Grenell debacle.
In a statement, Solmonese said: ‘The fact that Grenell 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.’