Call me shocked.
Suddenly Mitt Romney is back to his old “better than Ted Kennedy” on gay rights self. But he’ll only tell you this in private secret meetings. In public he’s still the big bad sever conservative. Let’s examine the latest in what have been a series of bizarre stories about Romney’s contortions on gay rights in the past 24 hours.
First, we learned yesterday that the lead gay group, Log Cabin Republicans, had “sat down” with Romney staffers, and afterwards were convinced that Romney would help gays on employment discrimination, which usually means supporting ENDA and/or an administration action ENDA for federal contractors.
Then today we learned that only a week ago gay Republicans actually had a secret meeting with Romney himself, and yet again, gays Republicans left convinced that Romney is on our side on workplace discrimination issues.
And now we learn that Romney has flip-flopped as well on gay adoption, the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell, and hospital visitation rights for gay partners. Ben Adler of the Nation got it from the head of Log Cabin, who sat down with Romney just last week, so he should know.
Cooper gave me three examples of gay rights issues Romney supports, besides workplace discrimination: adoption for gay couples, serving in the military, and hospital visitation rights for partners.
All three of those are “news.”
1. Adoption for gay couples
As early as May of this year, Mitt Romney – wait for it – flip-flopped twice on gay adoption in two days. First he was for it, then he was against it, and now supposedly he’s for it again:
Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney on Friday backed away from his support of adoptions by same-sex couples, saying that he simply “acknowledges” the legality of such adoptions in many states.A day earlier, Romney, in an interview with Fox News’ Neil Cavuto, had indicated that while he does not support same-sex marriage, he considers the adoption of children by same-sex couples a “right.”
2. DADT Repeal
Romney doesn’t support DADT repeal and he’s not happy that it happened (well, that’s what he says).
“Now that it’s done, we should not reverse it. I think that would be a step in the wrong direction because people have already disclosed themselves.”
“I think this issue is past us. It’s done. And I think we need to move on,” he told Florida’s WPTV.
That’s nice. It’s not quite “supporting” DADT repeal, but rather saying that it’s now a fait accompli. Meaning, Romney and Ryan recognize that the cat is out of the bag, as it were. They couldn’t reinstate DADT if they wanted to. That’s not being supportive.
Second, where is Romney’s statement agreeing with Ryan? I haven’t seen it. Vice presidential candidates can say all they want – it doesn’t mean squat unless the presidential candidate says it (unless Romney is the presidential candidate, then it doesn’t mean squat if he says it). The last thing we’ve heard from Romney on DADT repeal is the from a year ago and it’s hardly supportive:
It may also be instructive to remember that during the presidential primaries, Governor Romney indicated that he supported DADT, and that after former Defense Secretary Robert Gates said that the ban should be lifted, Romney countered that, “it should have been kept in place.“
3. Hospital Visitation
As the Nation’s Ben Adler explains, Romney’s bad on that too:
Regarding hospital visitation rights, Romney surrogate Bay Buchanan said after Monday’s presidential debate that Romney believes decisions on gay marriage and related issues such as hospital visitation and adoption should be left up to the states.
This was off-message to both the right and the left. It blatantly contradicts Romney’s pledge to support a federal ban on gay marriage. But it also implies that Romney would reverse the Obama administration’s 2010 executive order requiring hospitals participating in Medicare and Medicaid to recognize the visitation rights of gay couples.
Buchanan later sent BuzzFeed a clarification of Romney’s convoluted position:
“Governor Romney supports a federal marriage amendment to the Constitution that defines marriage as an institution between a man and a woman. Governor Romney also believes, consistent with the 10th Amendment, that it should be left to states to decide whether to grant same-sex couples certain benefits, such as hospital visitation rights and the ability to adopt children. I referred to the Tenth Amendment only when speaking about these kinds of benefits – not marriage.”
In other words, Romney maintains his support for making a federal issue of gay marriage, in order to ban it. But he thinks visitation rights are a state issue and would therefore presumably reverse Obama’s action.
This contradicts what the Romney campaign has told LCR. In our interview Cooper told me, “We’ve been assured there’s no retreat or interest in walking back repeal of ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ nor hospital visitation.”
Mitt Romney is a flip-flopping liar
While I believe that Romney did promise Log Cabin the moon at their cozy little retreat last week in a Virginia farmhouse, I also know that Mitt Romney has flip-flopped so often on gay issues, as well as every other issue, that his word is now meaningless.
So which Romney are we to believe? The Romney who in 1994 said he was more pro-gay than Ted Kennedy? The Romney in 2004 who said “I don’t care” about gay parents. The Romney in 2011 who was publicly against DADT repeal, or the Romney in 2012 who supposedly is for it, but only in secret?
Or how about my favorite, the Romney who twice last week flip-flopped on his support for an anti-gay amendment to the US Constitution that could literally wipe out every gay rights law, every pro-gay court decision, and as a result every pro-gay corporate policy in the country (because they wouldn’t be enforceable in court)? Romney is, once again, in favor of such an amendment. And that amendment vitiates anything else that Romney talks about doing because it may very well make everything else unconstitutional.
So spare me all the talk of how secretly pro-gay Mitt Romney is.
Mitt Romney is a serial liar and a political chameleon who changes based on whoever’s sitting next to him. The very fact that he’s only willing to make these promises in private should say something about how serious he is about keeping them. Even when he makes promises public he doesn’t keep them. Does anything seriously think he’s going to keep the secret ones?