When Romney foreign policy advisor Ric Grenell resigned under pressure after less than a month on the job, it was for one reason: Because he was gay. Not because of his credentials, not because of his performance, not for a host of other reasons that would have been valid. It was because he was gay. And because Mitt Romney and his campaign didn’t have the guts and principles to stand up for what was right, and push back against the forces of intolerance calling for Grenell’s ouster:
From Mr. Grenell’s hiring three weeks ago, which prompted an outcry from some Christian conservatives, it became clear that the appointment of the former Bush administration official with pristine Republican credentials had become entangled in the unforgiving churn of election-year politics, leading to his resignation…those close to Mr. Grenell, known as Ric, insist that when he had sought forceful support from those who had entrusted him with a major role, the campaign seemed to be focused, instead, on quieting a political storm that could detract from Mr. Romney’s message and his appeal to a crucial constituency.
“It’s not that the campaign cared whether Ric Grenell was gay,” one Republican adviser said. “They believed this was a nonissue. But they didn’t want to confront the religious right.” (source NY Times)
From literally the day his hiring was announced, Grenell was attacked by the religious right, perhaps most notably Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association:
The day after Mr. Grenell was hired, Bryan Fischer, a Romney critic with the American Family Association, told nearly 1,400 followers on Twitter: “If personnel is policy, his message to the pro-family community: drop dead.” (source NY Times)
The Romney campaign’s response? Instead of pushing back, instead of supporting Grenell, and instead of letting him do his job, they asked him to basically be quiet. They wouldn’t even let him speak on a conference call with reporters that Grenell himself had arranged.
Let that sink in for a minute: The guy running to be leader of the free world didn’t have the guts to stand up to someone with 1,400 Twitter followers.
After Grenell stepped down, it was Fischer who proudly declared victory, announcing that, “there is no way in the world that Mitt Romney is going to put a homosexual activist in any position of importance in his campaign.” (Source)
To be clear, there are a host of reasons why we would not want to see Grenell in a position of power, ranging from his policy positions to offensive statements he’s made in the past, most notably on Twitter. But the fact that he is gay is not one of those reasons. Nor should it be for anyone who values to ideals to which this nation aspires.