“Mitt Gets Worse” Chronicles Romney’s Backwards LGBT Agenda

True story: yesterday my boss gave me a lift home from our Boston office, and as we were driving down Commonwealth Avenue, we noticed a brigade of lit-up cop cars. “Right, I forgot,” my boss said, “Mitt Romney‘s in town for the weekend.” “Oh my gosh!” I replied. “He’s finally getting arrested!”

Nice try, brain. Several more seconds of rational thought revealed that misrepresenting your views before you take office, wielding political power to take rights away from your constituents, and using your hair as a barrier against the tide of progress aren’t technically illegal (yet). But they’re still not exactly best practices, and if you want an arsenal of examples of ways in which Romney has reneged on promises he’s made to the LGBT community, you’ll want to check out Mitt Gets Worse.

Mitt Gets Worse is, in its own words, “an oral history of Mitt Romney’s efforts to diminish the rights and the freedoms of LGBT Americans, told by supporters, activists, and LGBT advocates that have personally been impacted by Mitt’s anti-equality agenda.” So far, the website’s main page contains video testimonials from four high-profile impactees, dressed up with the dramatic camera angles and foreboding piano music we’ve come to expect from negative campaign ads. Look past the trappings, though, and the stories are frightening enough on their own. Julie Goodridge, one of the plaintiffs in the case that brought same-sex marriage to Massachusetts, recalls hoping that meeting Romney in person would help him reverse his position on her case, and having those hopes dramatically dashed:

“I looked him in the eye as we were leaving the meeting, and I said in exasperation, Governor Romney, tell me, what would you suggest I say to my eight-year-old daughter about why her mommy and her ma can’t get married, because you, the governor of her state, is going to block our marriage. He looked over my shoulder with this blank stare 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.”

Each video is a perfect example of the political getting personal — Goodridge goes through so much pain and anger when she tells her story that it’s difficult to watch, and Adam Bink, a political organizer, can barely conceal his frustration as he recalls the enormous gap between what Romney promised during his 1994 gubernatorial run and the actual decisions he made while in office ( “retroactively retiring” from his previous statements, you might say). It’s powerful stuff, the kind you might want to send to your Republican friends and relatives (hint hint). The site is filled out by a fantastic piece of archival reporting, a CSPAN-clip timeline that traces Romney’s topsy-turvy positions on everything from Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell to discrimination in the Boy Scouts (it also reveals Romney’s repeated and disconcerting desire to “preserve” traditional marriage, as though it were a mummy, or a type of fruit).

TRADITIONAL MARRIAGE: PART OF A BALANCED BREAKFAST?

The phrase “Mitt Gets Worse” is a cynical riff on the name of Dan Savage’s “It Gets Better” campaign, and, so far, the project does seem sort of like that campaign’s jaded older sister. All four video testifiers are particularly afraid of what a Romney presidency would mean for young people – legislatively, but also on a more philosophical level. Goodridge hates remembering how her partner wasn’t allowed to visit her or their daughter in the hospital, but it’s Romney’s blank stare and “I don’t care” that make her blood run visibly cold. “I could think of nothing worse than four years of having my kids have to witness him as president,” shudders Jennifer Chrisler, the executive director of the Family Equality Council, whose organization deals with pretty terrible things every day. And after providing a litany of examples of bad Romney policies, Bink drives the last nail into the coffin by scowling “Is it any surprise that Mitt Romney couldn’t even be bothered to make an It Gets Better video?

I think this is why the LGBT community is so horrified at the prospect of a Romney White House – his stated positions are bad enough, but even worse is the creeping sense that behind those positions is a man who is not making any attempt to care or understand. Romney is often criticized for seeming calculated and emotionally distant (most recently by Luke Skywalker, who knows about these sorts of things), but he takes it to a new level when it comes to gay rights. His rhetoric surrounding gay marriage and parenting seems canned more than calculated and is completely baseless, and when it comes to LGBT issues, his much-touted logic is often nothing of the sort (“I didn’t think Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell would work,” he told poor Anderson Cooper in 2007, “but it’s been there now for what, fifteen years? So it seems to have worked.” Someone please tell this man that the logic of capitalism is not the only logic). It’s becoming increasingly clear that, in his race to drive America into his “ideal” and “preserved” version of the future, Romney very well might put the LGBT community on top of the car and forget all about us. By marshalling all of this evidence, Mitt Gets Worse will hopefully help to ensure that he doesn’t get that chance.

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Cara is a writing reading bicycling fiend and a lab mouse to the world. Sometimes she's also Hat Benatar. She lives in Jamaica Plain with five cool roommates and an ice cream machine, and is generally thinking about gender, words, sustainable biodiversity, and/or electric guitars. You can follow her on twitter @cjgiaimo if you want.

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23 Comments

  1. Thumb up 1

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    You know, it occurs to me: I can go to literally any other website and see pictures of Mitt’s crooked, douchebag smirk. Why would I want to see it at a lady-loving website. I mean, I get it: Mitt is awful for LGBT rights. The GOP is awful for LGBT rights. I didn’t need Autostraddle to tell me that.

    But here’s the thing, Mitt WILL NOT WIN. Everything about this election signals that it will be decided by who has the better GOTV campaign, which is, like, the worst case scenario for the GOP. With that in mind, can this post be, like, the Mitt Romney capstone, and we all agree never to speak of him again?

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      While I, too, am sick of seeing Mitt’s face all over the place and get more and more pissed off every time I hear or read something he has said, I think it’s quite important that Autostraddle post (and continue posting) relevant articles on the presidential race, as the website does cover news and politics, too. In my opinion, this article is particularly relevant for Autostraddle’s audience; readers could use the website “Mitt Gets Worse” to remind family and friends to consider LGBT issues when choosing which political candidate to support. Although it may seem that Mitt won’t win (and I hope you’re right about that), that is FAR from clear in my area of the US. Even if “Mitt Gets Worse” doesn’t seem necessary to prevent Romney from becoming president, it will, at the very least, raise awareness. Personally, I have a lot of friends and family who would never consider LGBT rights as a voting point, so this article will be very helpful to get them to at least think about it.

      Oh, family and friends, get ready to be awakened to Mitten’s nasty tricks, ’cause you’re about to get some “Mitt Gets Worse” in your inboxes.

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      I don’t know that Obama will be able to easily rally the coalition of the youth that catapulted him to victory in 08. At least for the people at my college who voted for Obama in 08 and are now on the cusp of graduating and not being able to find a job, the promise of hope didn’t completely pan out. I support Obama because of his decency as a human being (by which I mean his decision to not re-enact America’s past of bigotry and actually evolving on the issues of gay marriage/DADT). But for a great number of those whose rights/dignity aren’t so intrinsically at stake, I think many do buy into Mittsy’s “I’m not a socialist, I’ll fix the economy and give you a job” schtick.

      Good article.

      Relevant Scumbag Mitt meme: https://sphotos-a.xx.fbcdn.net/hphotos-prn1/149301_454218334604819_1023672214_n.jpg

      • Thumb up 0

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        Well put. I’ve also see the strength waning for the youth behind Obama. My social group is a mix of independents and liberals. The independents are pretty torn up at this stage with no option of a fiscally conservative, but socially liberal candidate. People I’ve encountered who aren’t affected by gay rights, but are very affected by the economy seem to be leaning towards Mitt. I can honestly say I haven’t seen anyone that’ll be happy to vote for him, (in fact, most of the time it’s mumbles and grumbles) they just consider him more in line with their priorities.

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          Except that the Republicans actually are not better for the economy: they just like to spin it that way. When in office, they have routinely outspent the Dems.

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          They just spend money on other countries instead of our own. Of the 9 instances of US involvement in wars since WWII, 2/3 of them occurred during Republican presidencies. Wars are expensive.
          R: Iraq, Afghanistan, Persian Gulf, Panama, Grenada, Vietnam.
          D: Bosnia/Herzegovina, Bay of Pigs, Korea

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      That’s like saying there’s no point in talking about Roe v. Wade anymore because the Supreme Court will never overturn it. Underestimating the power of the political right in this country is very, very dangerous. The odds of Romney winning are a lot higher than anyone should be comfortable with.

  2. Thumb up 1

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    I wish showing this to my family would work but they don’t care if he’s anti lgbt and get mad when I say I dislike him, they say it’s because I’m gay. They dont care how bad the guy is as long as they get Obama out even if it means hurting their daughters chances of being happy :(

  3. Thumb up 4

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    This guy scares me. That video touched my heart in so many ways and to think that if Mitt became president he wouldn’t care about us. He isn’t even president and there are so many negative facts about him. That should be a huge red flag to everyone.

  4. Thumb up 0

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    Obviously, I support gay rights, but it’ll be hard to find someone who can put the economy back on track AND support gay rights. While both are pressing issues, I think the economy is a much more pressing matter as a whole. But then, I’m pretty young, so I don’t have a lot of experience in priorotizing these things on a political level.
    That said, I think Mitt can handle the economy the best, but I despise that he’s being such a terd towards the LGBT community.

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      The thing is, though, the president actually has very little power over the economy. In reality, the economy is driven by Wall Street, corporations, and people, with regulation coming largely from Congress. The president generally gets blamed for what happens, but that’s what comes of being the head of the government. (That’s not to say that the president can’t do things that really harm the economy, cough cough Bush, but the office has nowhere near as much power w/r/t the economy as the media generally presents.)

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        I just did some light research, and yeah, I need to think a lot more before I speak. :(
        But like Bush can harm the economy, I think that Mitt can influence and help push America in the right direction just with his ideas, even if it’s a little. Someone in that position has to have at least a small amount of influence. As far as the economy goes, you’re right, and I need to think more.

        Besides, if he’s in charge of preparing a budget for Congress to pass, then he can at least help us keep the outrageous national debt in check (relatively speaking). I think that might have been what I was thinking about, but I can never say exactly what I want. Sorry.

        • Thumb up 2

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          Don’t worry about it! I love talking about politics. I just get annoyed at the fact that the media tries to make it out like national spending HAS to be a bad thing (Keynesian economics is a real thing!) Personally, I don’t put much credence in Romney’s plans to reduce the budget. My guess is that it will entail cutting things like food stamps and Planned Parenthood funding while still allowing his corporate buddies to make off like bandits. (For example – we lose over $100 billion every year due to tax havens like the ones he himself uses, along with the biggest corporations. That would be a great place to start saving money!)

  5. Pingback: ‘Mitt Gets Worse’: New Liberal Super PAC Site Features Gay Marriage Icon … – U.S. News & World Report (blog) | politicsandpolls-com

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