American Bridge Communications Director Chris Harris told Raw Story he believes that it’s crucial for voters to understand just how virulently anti-gay a Romney administration would be.
“He’s no Massachusetts moderate,” said Harris. “He’s as far right on this issue as any candidate we’ve seen.”
The “Mitt Gets Worse” — a play on words meant to echo sex columnist and activist Dan Savage’s “It Gets Better” project — website describes the project as “an oral history of Mitt Romney’s efforts to diminish the rights and the freedoms of LGBT Americans, told by the brave people who have fought back against Mitt’s anti-equality agenda.”
The first videos feature lesbians and gays who were personally affected by the policies of Governor Romney’s administration in Massachusetts. These are people, said Harris, “who dealt with Mitt Romney head-on when he was governor.”
Equal marriage rights proponent Julie Goodridge tells in her video about the fight to have her and her partner’s marriage recognized in Massachusetts. In his 1994 campaign, Romney had billed himself as residing to the left of Ted Kennedy on the question of LGBT rights. Goodridge found, however, that once he was in office as governor, Romney’s true views came to the fore.
Goodridge was the co-lead plaintiff in Goodridge v. Department of Health, a groundbreaking marriage rights lawsuit from 2003 which concluded that “barring an individual from the protections, benefits, and obligations of civil marriage solely because that person would marry a person of the same sex violated the Massachusetts Constitution.” Gov. Romney fought the lawsuit and its assertions “every step of the way,” said Goodridge.
“Mitt Romney did everything he could possibly do to block our ability to get married,” she said. In an emotionally charged confrontation with the governor, Goodridge made a heartfelt, face-to-face appeal to Romney, asking “What would you suggest that I tell my eight year old daughter about why her mom and her mommy can’t get married?”
Romney looked at her blankly and said, “I don’t really care what you tell your adopted daughter. Why don’t you just tell her what you’ve been telling her for the last eight years?”
Goodridge’s daughter was born to her in 2004. Complications ensued and while emergency medical measures were undertaken to ensure the survival of mother and daughter, Goodridge’s partner Hillary was taken away and then denied access to both her partner and their child on the grounds that she was not a member of “the immediate family.”
“I have never in my life stood before someone who had no capacity for empathy like Mitt Romney,” said Goodridge of the then-governor, “He didn’t care about my daughter, he didn’t care about what we should tell her. All he cared about was his political future and blocking our right to get married.”
The “Mitt Gets Worse” website includes tools for supporters to make and post their own videos. Harris of American Bridge asserted that it’s important for citizens to be able to spread and share their own stories. “We want to give voters a chance to push back,” he said.
Harris believes that Romney is swimming against the tide of history and that his election would prove disastrous to the country in general and LGBTs in particular.
“The country is moving in the direction of equality,” he said, “not just acceptance, but actual support. Romney has moved in the opposite direction ever since he first ran in 1994. Every day, you can bet on it, he gets worse. Our concerns are not just about Mitt’s views, but also the people he would appoint. It’s not just same sex marriage, but DOMA, the courts, Don’t Ask Don’t Tell, Mitt Romney is on the wrong side of history on all these issues.”
David Ferguson is an editor at Raw Story. He was previously writer and radio producer in Athens, Georgia, hosting two shows for Georgia Public Broadcasting and blogging at Firedoglake.com and elsewhere. He is currently working on a book.
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