Gay war veteran talks to Mitt Romney

[Video Link] First posted in December, I just watched this excellent video of a Vietnam war veteran speaking with Mitt Romney about marriage equality. The vet was undecided about who to vote for before he spoke face-to-face with Romney, and by the end of the conversation he decided Romney's reprehensible homophobia made him unsuitable to be President.


    1. Remember, this happened last December. So yeah, it was a reasonable question.

      Besides which, even if the response wasn’t surprising, it’s worth getting it spelled out on record. Especially with Romney, who’s not exactly the model of consistency.

    2. Romney said he would be to the left of Ted Kennedy on Gay Rights when he ran for Senate. NH residents are typically more politically saavy and lean libertarian/center. They’re more likely to base their opinions on politicians on what they say and do rather than what their religion is.

    3. That wasn’t the point.

      Read TWX’s comment below. It’s all about exposure. Exposing people to different people and view points. Exposing diversity. Exposing blatant homophobia. Exposing Romney’s inability to sympathize. Etc.

      The more this is talked about and shown, the better.

    1. I read your comment, closed the tab, and then started laughing as it fully hit me.  I then came back and gave you a like.

  1. Once a homophobe, always a homophobe. And no I’m not a lesbian. I just think they DESERVE the same rights as me. And gays and transgenders and…humans are humans.

    1. Once a homophobe, always a homophobe.

      That’s a pretty big generalization.  I was once a homophobe, for quite a long time. I eventually worked through a lot of emotional issues with my relationships and came to the realization that I’m bisexual.  I’d been “compensating” against it the whole time subconsciously.  And now I have the ability enjoy healthy relationships with people I’m attracted to, and have no animosity for any non-hetro orientation or identity.

      I have empathy, and realized that whenever I felt disgusted and attributed it to someone else’ identity or orientation, I was really disgusted with my own cowardice.

      So, in short, once a homophobe NOT always a homophobe.

      But I do agree, with people like Willard, there really is no hope for them.  They’re too far gone, indoctrinated to have no empathy or kindness for others of a different persuasion.

      The closest Willard comes to, I would suspect, is pity for anyone not “like him.”

      1. HEY!

        Have some respect.

        The man goes by his middle name, not “Willard.”

        It’s MITTENS. Got it?

        Mittens, Mittens, Mittens.

        Just think of a spoiled cat that thinks he owns the house because other people feed him, clean up his shit, and entertain him.

        Thank you.

      2. +1 on once /= always.

        As a kid, I guess I was fairly typically homophobic (the kind that explains itself by starting, ‘as long as they don’t…’), and I had to traverse half a spectrum to get where I am, starting with reading Heinlein’s Stranger in a Strange Land, through the point where I could witness blokes kissing in public without feeling anything but ‘good on ya,’ to the point where as a trysexual, I felt I should jump the fence a couple of times to make sure I was straight.

        Turns out I can’t be bi despite my best efforts, which many may find an interesting snippet… I mean, how much wind does that take out of the homophobia sail?

        1. “Trysexual” is great, that’s one to add to the vocabulary. Lately I’ve been thinking a line needs to be drawn between “homophobic” and “homosexopobic”.

          I was a typical young male mild homophobe due to nonsensical religious and social pressures, but now I’m kind of what I like to call a “homophile” in that I really enjoy a strong gay presence in any given place, and I enjoy raining vitriol on bigots. I even take compliments from gay men to heart and find it flattering. However, I could absolutely not leap the fence, because nonononono, aaargh et cetera. That, and tits and fannies are totally my bag.

    2. Romney is no phobe.  He holds that position because his party would lynch him if he came out as a liberal Republican.  But before he decided to run for President, he was pro-choice and probably pro-marriage equality.  He even let poor people have health care.

          1. Conservative leadership would make all those things much worse. In general, neoliberal policy making in both parties is the root of our woes.

          2. @Navin_Johnson But we were just told upthread that it wouldn’t be conservative leadership, so maybe you should take up your issue with that poster. I would prefer libertarian @Navin_Johnson:disqusleadership on fiscal and social issues, but that is not a realistic option yet.

            @CW Because at ;east Romney has run something larger than a senate office before. I’ll take pragmatism over ideology at this point.

          3. @Navin_Johnson:disqus 
             I don’t know or care where you’re headed, but I stand by my comment in response to the comment to which I originally replied.

          4. Have you seen the state of Massachusetts economy when Romeny was in office? It’s awful. Being a CEO is nothing like governing.  

          5. If you’re going to pull out that trio of straw men, do a teeny bit of actual research first as to what caused the issues, what’s currently being done, and what the two candidates would do to help. Thanks.

      1. At the beginning of his governorship, Romney opposed same-sex marriage and civil unions, but advocated tolerance and supported some domestic partnership benefits. Faced with the dilemma of choosing between same-sex marriage or civil unions after the November 2003 Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court decision legalizing same-sex marriages (Goodridge v. Department of Public Health), Romney reluctantly backed a state constitutional amendment in February 2004 that would have banned same-sex marriage but still allow civil unions, viewing it as the only feasible way to ban same-sex marriage in Massachusetts. In May 2004, the governor instructed town clerks to begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples, but citing a 1913 law that barred out-of-state residents from getting married in Massachusetts if their union would be illegal in their home state, no marriage licenses were to be issued to out-of-state same-sex couples not planning to move to Massachusetts. In June 2005, Romney abandoned his support for the compromise amendment, stating that the amendment confused voters who oppose both same-sex marriage and civil unions. Instead, he endorsed a petition effort led by the Coalition for Marriage & Family that would have banned same-sex marriage and made no provisions for civil unions. In 2004 and 2006, he urged the U.S. Senate to vote in favor of the Federal Marriage Amendment.

        Sounds pretty homophobic to me.

    3.  “Once a homophobe, always a homophobe.”

      I have to disagree.  I was raised fairly conservatively, including finding homosexuality anathema.  When I was 17 I started working for an ISP for my first job, and I had no idea what the upside-down triangle with rainbow coloring for the company’s logo meant.  When I realized that about 80% of the staff was gay I was very concerned, but after a couple of weeks I realized these people were here to make money same as me, and that they all had their own aspirations, interests, and technical abilities that were irrelevant of their sexual orientation.  At no time was I hit on or otherwise pressured to an orientation that wasn’t my own, and I fairly quickly found myself with a different view than I previously held.

      At this point I don’t care who wants to have sex with who, so long as they’re all able to truly consent. 

    1. Obama was never as dead-set as Romney.  He felt, and possibly still feels, that marriage is between a man and a woman, but at the same time knows his personal beliefs should not deny rights to people who don’t feel the same way.  As long as straight couples can get legal benefits from marriage, gay couples should as well.  And as long as the only real argument anybody can give is that “the bible says” marriage is between man and woman, it is unconstitutional to deny marriage to gay couples.

    2. Not true at all. Obama stated, quite plainly, that his Christian upbringing taught him that marriage is between a man or a woman, but that he also understood that not everyone has the same personal beliefs, which is why he’s always refused to deny rights to anyone. Recently he’s said that the last few years have also evolved his personal beliefs as well.

      1. He’s always been quite good at admitting that his beliefs, especially in regards to faith and religion, may not always align with everyone else, and that it is important to remember that.  He has mentioned atheists in the past, for example.  I think that’s telling, and indicative f his ability to separate his religious beliefs from his politics (mostly, anyway).

        I think that’s partly why I like the guy even despite all his flaws.

    3. No.  It’s not fucking comparable and I’m tired of people comparing it.  Obama had imperfect views, but he was NOT a homophobe.  Mostly he was stuck on the marriage thing, due to his religious and fairly conservative upbringing. 

      It’ is completely reasonably  to think that someone could have evolved his views after four years as president.  He’s been exposed a lot more to LGBQT folks than ever before.  I also believed him when he said his wife and daughters had a lot to do with it.  I fully believe that he and Michelle are raising two smart, open-minded young women and that they are going to grow up to be gay friendly.  Wouldn’t you be surprised if they didn’t?  I would.

      I think that’s telling.  And I think he became aware of that.  I also think that’s very telling of where we are headed, and perhaps it’s even more important than how the president really feels about it.

      And hell, he’s a politician.  Even if he has evolved on the issues, he’ still pandering.  They all are!  Always!  That’s their job.  To get elected.  It’s pointless, really, to try to figure out if a politician is being sincere.  How can you, really?

      And does it really matter?  I mean I don’t give a fuck.  Do you, really? A sitting president has now vocally supported LGBQT rights including gay marriage.  And it is now an official part of the Democrat platform.  That is SERIOUS!

      It’s hard to move back from that sort of support.  I just don’t *care* how sincere he is, really.

      DADT was repealed and now this.  The first openly gay woman was promoted to General in the army.  We are *officially* at the point of no return.

  2.  I like the way Romney looks at him as he pats him on the shoulder at the end, like “I’m going to touch you now, but don’t get the wrong idea….”

  3. I think Romney did pretty well here, regardless of whether you agree with him or not.

    Love this part:

    Absolutely, I was definitely offended! He doesn’t even open the door to a conversation, it’s just a boom — but I did ask him yes or no, um, so, I, you know, got what I asked for…”

    1. Yes, he did do very well at making himself look like an unsympathetic asshole, but he’s also quite practiced at that.

  4. At the beginning, I honestly think Romney said what he did because he thought that was what the guy wanted to hear. It wasnt until a few moments later that he realized differently.

    1. Yea, this guy is definitely a sterotype bender, and I’m glad of it. You see an older looking war vet and get a certain set of assumptions into your head. Then he shatters a major one with his follow up question. Good.

    2. That’s what I love about this video.  Romney made an assumption about this man based on his own prejudice, and it shows.

    3. The craziness of this “family values” thing is that this vet could have been speaking up for the rights of his brother, daughter, mom, and have been as justifiably offended. What’s weird is that in bigot-think the view is that only “the gays” could be angry about same-sex discrimination, and someone who is “straight” would be neutral about it or just disagree. It doesn’t occur to them that there are legions of people who don’t define family by what people do with their pants, and we are pissed off that someone would presume that we should do so to have “values”.

  5. It’s not a question of religious beliefs or homophobia.

    The question is, are you going to let those beliefs interfere with matters of state and country.  Everyone is entitled to their beliefs, but as the leader of a nation you have to put the welfare  of your country and people first.

    1. “as the leader of a nation you have to put the welfare of your country and people first”

      Republicans believe that’s why they need to combat gay marriage, naturally.

      1. It is a truth universally acknowledged (among right-wingers) that it’s no fun being a have if there aren’t any have nots.

  6. Romney barely lets the guy finish a sentence before he nervously begins talking about himself. Every time he attempts to connect with “the people,” Romney seems damn near incapable of listening, much less empathizing. Just sputters on about how he likes trees and shit.

  7. I think this guy was just baiting Romney.  Romney was definitely surprised by the guy’s point of view.  Then the guy accuses Romney of not answering the question.  Romney did answer the question.

    Agree or disagree it’s good to see a clear answer from a politician to a simple question.

    1. Check blueelm’s response just above.

      Romney probably wouldn’t have given a direct answer if he’d thought this gunslinging war vet was gay.

      1. I disagree. Even if the guy was dressed in drag, Romney’s answer still would have been the same and possibly even more emphatic.

        1. No way.  Seriously.  That’s why they try to keep people away from him, so he doesn’t have to do that and he doesn’t have to run.  It takes a gifted politician to fight those battles and Romney is not gifted.

          1. Do you seriously think Romney would ever change his stance on gay marriage? You give him way too much credit. His answer will be “no” regardless of who is asking the question.

    2. I think this guy was just baiting Romney.

      Baiting him? By trying to get him to answer a question honestly? When he’s running for President?

      Am I baiting the road when I drive on it?

      1. I think the guy had already played it out in his head that Romney was going to dodge the yes/no question, and he continued on his script, then Romney told him that he did answer clearly.  

        I’m no Romney fan but this case seems clear cut to me.  Just my opinion.

    3. I think this guy was just baiting Romney. Romney was definitely surprised by the guy’s point of view.

      Did it occur to you that that may have been the point?

      “SURPRISE, asshole! There are loyal members and veterans of the armed forces who want equal marriage rights too!”

    4. Asking a direct question is “baiting” now?  Oh.  It’s because it’s about gay people.  Never mind.  Go back to your regularly scheduled oppression.

      1. This is not about gay people.  The question was, but the issue is whether Romney answered the question, and he did.

        1. Okay, but what does that have to do with your erroneous claim that asking a direct point is “baiting”?

  8. (question)  Simple question, yes or no. (answer) No. 
    What’s the problem with Romney’s answer ? Both where honest with their opinions and had their say. Diplomacy is never sold short although heated emotions are.

    1. Well, if you accept the premises on which the answer is based then there is nothing wrong with it.  If you don’t accept those premises then there is something wrong with it. 

      If you accept the premise that gay marriage is somehow harmful to society (which, to my knowledge, doesn’t have any evidence whatsoever supporting it), or if you accept the premise that marriage is an ancient, sacred covenant that has not changed at all in thousands of years (demonstrably false) then Romney’s answer makes sense.  If you don’t accept those premises then the whole anti-gay-marriage side of the argument seems like senseless discrimination undertaken for the sake of either putting queer folks “in their place” or pandering to bigots and closed-minded fools. 

      From my point of view, being against gay marriage is a lot like being against equal access to educational opportunities for minority children.  It doesn’t make rational sense and so it seems strictly intended to punish some minority for being a minority.  It doesn’t seem to me like this should even be a political issue.  If there was some reason to think gay marriage would actually be harmful to society then there might be a political argument there, but I haven’t seen anyone offer anything like that.

  9. From the original ABC post:

    “Garon [the veteran] was sitting in a booth with his husband, whom he said he married in June.”

    Two people likely made up their mind who to vote for at that table.

    1. Though “because I believe that all Americans should enjoy the same rights” would have been a pretty good answer too.

  10. Why do proponents of same sex marriage insist on changing the definition of marriage as a means to obtaining equal rights?  Why not just lobby for equal rights (death benefits, hospital visitation, tax benefits, adoption rights, etc) for domestic partners in states that don’t already have such laws?   Seems to me like a win-win: much less opposition from conservatives that want to protect marriage while still gaining access to all of the same rights and priviledges enjoyed by married couples.

    Or is the fight more about social acceptance and moral legitimization of  homosexual relationships and less about equal access to the actual rights married couples enjoy?

    1.  I think its about not revisiting that nasty “separate but equal” bullshit we tried here a while back

      1. One main difference is that separate-but-equal was only applied to actual physical institutions: schools, beaches, hospitals, drinking fountains, etc. 

        It wasn’t applied to a word on a contract, really.

        It would have been really strange to say Black students may attend any school, but while we’re there we’ll call them “civil learners” instead of students, but one could have and they really would have had materially identical conditions, and the justice issue would have been VERY MUDDLED.

        But this debate isn’t about materially identical conditions, its about symbolic referents describing two kinds of legal relationships (that ACTUALLY differ in a material condition in MOST of the cases)

        1. Um.  You do know that at one point, it was illegal for African Americans to marry — and also interracial marriage was illegal for a long, long time.  You do know that … right?

          1. Of course. Its not relevant to the kind of analogy I’m using though. Forbidding marriage to black people was never conceptualized as separate-but-equal.

    2. Why do proponents of marriage-as-a-religious-sacrament insist on changing the definition of marriage as a means to obtaining unconstitutional (and unethical) privilege?

      It is wrong for your religion’s marriage ceremony to be legitimized if it means other people’s marriage ceremonies have to be delegitimized as part of the deal.

      In this country, marriage is a legal contract conferring rights and responsibilities between two adult people. Well, in theory, that is….in reality, it’s a legal contract based on some people’s religious tenets (but not others), which interferes with and even denies the civil aspects of the contract for other couples.

    3. Why would I accept being a second class citizen as long as there’s still a torch or a pitchfork handy?

    4. Here’s a fun little exercise: try replacing the concept of  “same-sex marraige” with “interracial marraige” and apply exactly the same rationale you used above.

      Why should people like President Obama’s parents have cared that their marraige wouldn’t have been legally recognized in several states when they could have simply lobbied to have those states grant them the same rights as a domestic partnership? It’s a win-win! (You wouldn’t want to deprive the bigots of their “win,” would you?)

    5. because by your logic I’d still be considered property. If it was moral and legitimate when the definition of marriage was changed from man acquires chattel to a legal agreement between two equal human beings, so here too.

    6. Why do people who don’t understand that “marriage” is a very powerful word keep insisting that it doesn’t actually matter? That’s very, very selfish.

    7. Right, because “separate but equal” has a real great history in the US.  If this was the 1980’s  “separate but equal” probably would have been good enough.  Now though?  They are pushing for marriage equality because they are going to win.  The demographics and poll numbers are swinging so violently towards marriage equality it isn’t even funny.  

      DOMA is going to be killed by the next democrat in office.  Almost the entire Northeast has marriage equality and the West and a handful of other Northern states are about to join them.  It is already over.  Yes, I am sure a bunch of backwards Southern states will write their bigoted laws and add bigotry to their constitution (not for the first time).  Much like with interracial marriage, you are going to have bigoted hold outs decades after the rest of the Union has embraced liberty.  It won’t matter at that point.

      So, is this about getting all the rights or social acceptance?  Clearly, it is about both.  Claiming your liberty from bigots is the first step, but marriage equality doesn’t do you much good if you can’t get a job because bigots can’t stand the thought of working with someone dating the “wrong” gendered partner.

      So, if your concern that the end game of marriage equality is going to be that people are going to think  you are a bigot if you talk about a gay couple the way a Jim Crow era southerner might talk about an interracial couple, then your fears are entirely valid.  Yes, the final goal is to make bigots like you feel embarrassed and ashamed of your bigotry.  Claiming liberty is a first and necessary step, but making assholes like you ashamed to voice your bigotry is a close second.

    8. Or is the fight more about social acceptance and moral legitimization of homosexual relationships and less about equal access to the actual rights married couples enjoy?

      It’s about BOTH.

  11. Christianity invented the modern concept of marriage anyway, according to Remi Brague

    “It took centuries to translate Christian reality into institutions. Think of the time it took for the Church to reverse inveterate habits and impose the consent of the engaged couple as the sole indispensable condition for marriage. The famous monogamous marriage that we now call “traditional” was in fact a hard-won innovation. What is really traditional is the contract between two families for an exchange of spouses, whose opinion was seldom asked. Until quite late, so-called “Christian” society regarded with a jaundiced eye those who married—before a priest, to be sure—without consulting father, mother, or the social conventions. In one telling example: when the silk-worker Gonzalo de Yepes married Catalina Alvarez, a poor weaver, for love, his family disowned him. Moreover, when Catalina became a widow, she had to make her way alone to raise her son, later known under the name of St. John of the Cross.” 

    1. Christianity invented the modern concept of marriage anyway

      Odd, because it seems pretty identical to the pre-Christian Roman model of marriage.

      1. Shh you! Get back in your corner and unlearn history so religious zealots can continue perpetuating their myths about creating marriage.

    2.  It doesn’t matter who invented a thing. Arguments from authority are poor arguments. What matters is that we have a large swath of the human population, full of consenting adults, that would like the same privileges and rights as the so-called normals. It’s really truly that simple. If you have to reach back in time to pull some random rabbit out of your hat to justify your bigotry, you’re wrong.

  12. Fascinating, watching the reporters and handlers surrounding Rmoney and the vet. While the conversation is progressing along the expected lines, hardly anybody’s paying attention to them – But as soon as their voices go up a tic, all heads slowly turn and focus on the two of them. And seconds later, a handler interrupts with a conveniently-sudden, “Governor, it’s time to go”.

    I wonder if Mittens was frantically-but-surreptitiously making some sort of “Get Me Out Of This” hand signal, but the crowd kept his handler from noticing it fast enough, allowing time for the details to emerge. You could tell how releaved Mittens was to get dragged away from that exchange.

    Y’know, I speak pretty poorly of politicians in general, bemoaning the surfeit of them versus a deficiency of leaders and statesmen – But rarely have I gotten such a vibe off of any politician to the the degree that I get this one off of Mittens: The man is a GIGANTIC pussy.

    Not just an exceedingly-cautious, risk-averse, neurotically image-conscious, mush-mouthed man of non-extant ethics, but a guy with a yellow stripe a fucking mile wide down the middle of his pampered, patrician ass. 

    1. Please don’t insult pussies like that. My pussy has far better morals and values than Mittens, thankyouveryfuckingmuch.

      “Why do people say “Grow some balls”? Balls are weak and sensitive!  If you really wanna get tough, grow a vagina!  Those things take a pounding!” -Betty White

      (Seriously, though, can we stop using “pussy” as an insult? Pussies are awesome!)

  13. In addition to exposing Romney’s homophobia, this video also exposes another stereotype: military personnel are not all lockstep conservatives. Many of us are moderate to liberal types who chose the military for a variety of reasons, including patriotism, a way out of poverty,  way to get an education, etc. Mitt cozied up to this guy because he assumed, like a lot of people, that he would be a supporter.

  14. Usually when a person with horrible views is met face to face with the target of those views, he would be shamed into changing his opinion and growing, unfortunately that is only true of people with a shred of humanity left, Romney is an utterly empty shell a robot and a complete lost cause. 

  15. Please, please don’t screw up America… The rest of the world is counting on you not to become a cultural, political & scientific swampland again. We really hated you during the Bush years – even populations of your supposed allies.

    Obama has done some crappy stuff no doubt, but can you imagine the hell we’d be in if you had elected McCain? My hope is that in his second term he will be free to make true some of the bold changes he promised in 2008.

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