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LGBT issues again absent from presidential debate

CHRIS JOHNSON | Washington Blade
Wednesday, October 17, 2012

The town hall presidential debate on Tuesday night included references to social issues, such as women’s rights, immigration and gun violence but as in the previous debate, there was no explicit mention of LGBT issues.

During the debate at Hofstra University, Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney brought up his belief in marriage as a means to reduce the culture of violence in response to a question about banning assault weapons, saying “we need moms and dads helping raise kids” and espousing “the benefit of having two parents in the home.”

Mitt Romney (left) and President Barack Obama.
(Washington Blade photos by Michael Key.)

“A lot of great single moms, single dads,” Romney said. “But gosh, to tell our kids that before they have babies, they ought to think about getting married to someone — that’s a great idea because if there’s a two-parent family, the prospect of living in poverty goes down dramatically. The opportunities that the child will — will be able to achieve increase dramatically.”

Romney never explicitly said he was excluding opposite-sex couples when touting the importance of a “two-parent family” as the correct way to raise children, but didn’t take the opportunity to say that marriage should be between one man, one woman.

He has previously stated that gay couples shouldn’t be allowed to marry and supports a U.S. constitutional amendment that would ban same-sex marriage throughout the country.

The Romney campaign didn’t immediately respond to the Washington Blade’s request to clarify the marriage remarks, but LGBT rights groups on both sides of the aisle had differing interpretations of the candidate’s intended meaning.

Jerame Davis, executive director of the National Stonewall Democrats, said even though Romney didn’t mention same-sex couples in his remarks, the candidate’s past hostility toward LGBT people speaks for itself.

“Whether or not it was intentional, Mitt Romney has absolutely no respect for LGBT families,” Davis said. “His opposition to marriage equality and even civil unions makes clear that he really doesn’t believe our families are equal or deserving of the same status as other families.”

R. Clarke Cooper, executive director of the Log Cabin Republicans, said he didn’t believe Romney’s remarks were exclusionary based on comments he’s made at other times.

“I don’t think that was intended to be an exclusionary statement because he has made comments in support on (same-sex parent) adoption, and later in his closing comments, he made a reference to all of us being children of God,” Cooper said.

Romney once articulated that same-sex parent adoption was a “right” over the course of the presidential campaign, but later clarified his position in May to state he merely acknowledges the right of states to enable adoption by same-sex parents if they choose.

President Obama made a reference to opposing discrimination during the presidential debate in response to a question on pay equity for women, though he said nothing explicit on LGBT issues.

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15 more reader comments:

  1. Dislike!

    Posted on Wednesday, October 17, 2012 at 9:43am
  2. LGBT issues affect 5% of the population directly. LGBT issues were not asked in one question. It’s unrealistic to expect them to be brought up, especially in a town hall debate.

    Posted on Wednesday, October 17, 2012 at 9:44am
  3. That’s because it doesn’t really matter to either one of them.

    Posted on Wednesday, October 17, 2012 at 9:47am
  4. I think it was faintly touched on when romney answered the gun control question with kids need a mother and a father to make sure they grow up right. The woman that asked the question was glaring at romney over that comment.

    Posted on Wednesday, October 17, 2012 at 9:50am
  5. However it should be more prominent because i also feel that 5% is a low number compared to how many lgbt there actually are because not everyone is out.

    Posted on Wednesday, October 17, 2012 at 9:52am
  6. I think it was touched on a little but wish it had more of a spotlight

    Posted on Wednesday, October 17, 2012 at 9:55am
  7. Romney is a fucking joke!! He changes opinions more than he changes underwear!! Lies, lies, lies!!! Pathetic

    Posted on Wednesday, October 17, 2012 at 9:59am
  8. Angry that this was used as a discussion point during the Conventions and made to be a critical element to their campaign platforms…including some serious investment, and then has been absent from the debates

    Posted on Wednesday, October 17, 2012 at 10:01am
  9. I agree with Jay – LGBT issues do NOT need to be discussed all the time. We know where these two candidates stand on issues which are important to the LGBT community and we know who is with us and who is not. You didnt hear Romney make any reference to gay or lesbian couples as being good parents for children did you? We have all the evidence we need on where our votes should be going and mine is goign to Obama just as soon as I can get to an early voting polling place! I urge all LGBT voters to do the same.

    Posted on Wednesday, October 17, 2012 at 10:19am
  10. I agree that they don’t need to be talked about all the time. However, it has not been the topic once in any of the debates thus far. The views of how they views equality matters too me a lot. I feel when Romney talks about helping people & letting people make their own decisions. That someone should speak up about women’s health & equality as two issues he doesn’t truly mean that. Because those are two strong choices for some of us & our own happiness in love & life. If you don’t believe that women or the LGBT community have rights to make their own decisions then I find it very hard to believe that you are truly wanting to help “all the people” who live in this country. Because it has been clearly stated. Romeny/Ryan don’t want women choosing their own methods of birth control or what they do or don’t do with their bodies. As for the LGBT side. It doesn’t seem to be an issue really & that bothers me because as single gay women, both of those social issues matter a lot too me. Not just because I am gay & a woman. But because no should tell anyone what they can or can’t do with their own bodies. Or whom they should marry. Especially men of the any government laying down laws for women. Or straight people laying down laws for gays.

    Posted on Wednesday, October 17, 2012 at 11:22am
  11. Homosexuality shoudnt come up in a presidential debate. Someones sexuality isnt a national threat or a financial issue.

    Posted on Wednesday, October 17, 2012 at 11:28am
  12. No- but these two men have very different views on rights for people of the LGBT community. Social issues are just as important, as the economic issues. Romney has been very avoidant on same sex marriage, and the issues surrounding it- because he is so caught up on the economy. They need to give equal attention to other things, than job growth, and the deficit.

    Posted on Wednesday, October 17, 2012 at 12:21pm
  13. if mitt win i swear imma gonna los it obama bettr win

    Posted on Wednesday, October 17, 2012 at 12:45pm
  14. ???

    Posted on Wednesday, October 17, 2012 at 4:49pm
  15. Town hall meeting questions come from the public…can’t blame candidates if the public doesn’t ask during their slated opportunity.

    Posted on Wednesday, October 17, 2012 at 6:19pm