Romney held secret meeting with gay GOP leaders last week

Romney Secured Gay Repub Endorsement in Secret Meeting

It seems that yesterday’s bombshell from Nation reporter Ben Adler has now been confirmed.

The reason that gay Republican leaders are “confident” that Mitt Romney will support banning workplace discrimination against gay and trans people is because leaders of the lead gay Republican gay group, Log Cabin Republicans (LCR), met secretly with Romney a week ago at a remote Virginia farmhouse.

More from Chris Johnson at the Washington Blade:

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Lesbians via Shutterstock

A meeting that took place at a Virginia farmhouse between officials from Log Cabin Republicans and Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney included a discussion about workplace non-discrimination, but attendees who spoke to the Washington Blade wouldn’t enumerate any commitments made by Romney.

R. Clarke Cooper, Log Cabin’s executive director, said workplace non-discrimination protections were the focus of the meeting, which took place Oct. 17 at Greenwood Farm in Leesburg, Va., which was a precursor the organization’s endorsement of the candidate announced on Tuesday.

The Log Cabin chief was non-commital when asked if he gathered from the meeting that Romney would sign a version of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act if it reached his desk.

“I can say with confidence that the Romney administration would work on desirable outcomes for workplace non-discrimination,” Cooper said. “I’m going to leave it broad like that because I think there’s room for administrative action as well as legislative. I also think it’s probably fair to say that legislation in a form of an ENDA or an ENDA-like legislation is certainly realistic.”

So either Romney will support ENDA itself, or an executive branch ENDA, through administrative action, that would prohibit federal contractors from discrimination against people based on their sexual orientation and gender identity.  And actually, Cooper suggests in the piece that it might be both.  (One expects such a measure, whether by law or administrative action, to have massive loopholes to appease Romney’s friends in the religious right. )

Also surprising is that Johnson reports that Romney had no problem including gender identity, i.e., trans people, in the pro-gay measure.

Gay Repubs “Confident” Romney Will Support Gay Jobs Measure

More background from the Nation’s Ben Adler:

Romney’s greatest asset as a politician is his total lack of integrity, honesty or consistency. He is perfectly willing to go before the religious right one day and pledge fealty to them, and the Log Cabin Republicans the next day to do the same. And, apparently, that is what he has done, in private.

Cooper asserted repeatedly that, “With a President Romney we’re confident we can work with him [on ENDA].” But when asked why, Cooper offered only reasons that Romney should work with them: that discrimination is a form of economic inefficiency and impediment to job growth. But you could make the same argument to any president.

The question is what Romney has said that gives them such confidence. Cooper says, “Romney been clear in his opposition to workplace discrimination.” He also seemed to conflate private conversations with LCR representatives and his public pronouncements, saying such things as, “[Romney] is acutely aware of the problem of the patchwork of discrimination,” meaning that it creates problems for businesses that some states ban anti-gay discrimination and others do not.

Later, clearly referencing private communications with the campaign, Cooper said, “Based on our work with the campaign and Gov. Romney, I’m confident [that he will support anti-discrimination legislation].” Cooper was coy and vague about what exactly Romney said to inspire such confidence; he says Romney “has been adamant” in opposition to discrimination. Romney is clearly quite a salesman.

As I’ve written before, Romney has spoken of his personal preference not to practice discrimination, but he has not actually publicly called for outlawing workplace discrimination on the basis of sexual orientation. Cooper said he would e-mail me Romney quotes I may have missed that do call for such legislation, but as of this writing he had not done so.

As I continued to press this point and suggested that LCR may be factually wrong about Romney’s position, Cooper blurted out, rhetorically, “Have you met with Romney’s domestic policy team?” Cooper’s implication was abundantly clear: Romney’s domestic policy team has privately told LCR what they wanted to hear. And therein lies the answer to how Romney secured LCR’s endorsement. But Romney so fears the wrath of the religious right that he will not adopt this position in public, (Although ENDA polls very well, major social conservative groups, such as the American Family Association, continue to oppose it and demand that Romney do the same.)

Given that Romney is a reflexive liar, the question then becomes why LCR chooses to believe Romney. For that, I have no answer other than wishful thinking on their part.

What might have been open for interpretation before is less so now. Mitt Romney, busy Mitt Romney, three weeks before the election of his life, took time out to meet with gay Republican leaders, then right after, gay Republican leaders endorse him with an odd statement that doesn’t make sense, unless something else, something secret, is going on behind the scenes.  Like a secret promise from the GOP candidate himself to either pass, or institute, a huge gay civil rights measure.

Queue Religious Right Gasket-blowing

The religious right wasn’t happy when they heard about the first reports of a secret promise.  They’re going to go ballistic now.

Here’s the American Family Association’s response to yesterday’s news.  Note that they demanded that Romney himself address this issue.  Now that we have news that Romney himself secretly met with gay Republicans, he won’t have a choice but to personally try to assuage the religious right that this story isn’t true.

But if he does that, it has to happen publicly, or the religious right minions across the country won’t know that Romney didn’t mean it when he promised the gays the moon.  And if he does go public, Log Cabin will look like a fool for believing yet another Romney lie, and Romney risks the 25$%-30% of the gay vote that one might expect him to get, based on past gay GOP turnout.

Here’s the AFA’s tweets:

American Family Association's Bryan Fischer upset with Mitt Romney over gay rights


Follow me on Twitter: @aravosis | @americablog | @americabloggay | Facebook | Google+. John Aravosis is the editor of AMERICAblog, which he founded in 2004. He has a joint law degree (JD) and masters in Foreign Service from Georgetown (1989); and worked in the US Senate, World Bank, Children's Defense Fund, and as a stringer for the Economist. Frequent TV pundit: O'Reilly Factor, Hardball, World News Tonight, Nightline & Reliable Sources. Bio, .

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