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Back to Section One | Back to Arts & Entertainment
posted Friday, May 4, 2012 - Volume 40 Issue 18
Romney campaign Gay staffer quits after two weeks on the job
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Romney campaign Gay staffer quits after two weeks on the job

by Mike Andrew - SGN Staff Writer

Richard Grenell, the only openly Gay staffer employed by Mitt Romney's presidential campaign, quit May 1 after only two weeks on the job.

Grenell was hired April 20 as Romney's foreign policy and national security spokesperson. He previously worked in the George W. Bush administration as a spokesperson for the U.S. ambassador to the U.N.

When he was hired, Log Cabin Republicans executive director R. Clarke Cooper, who also served in the Bush administration, said that Grenell would be 'a tremendous asset' to the Romney campaign.

'Having served with Ric,' Cooper said, 'I can attest that his experience in the multi-lateral environment of the U.N. and familiarity with domestic and international media make Ric a strong voice.'

Prior to being hired by the Romney campaign, Grenell was best known for two things: his snarky tweets about prominent women like Rachel Maddow, Hillary Clinton, and Callista Gingrich, and his efforts to get his partner, Matt Lashley, listed as his spouse in the U.N.'s Blue Book registry.

It was his unsuccessful fight to get recognition for his relationship with Lashley that proved to be his undoing.

When Grenell was hired, American Family Association head Bryan Fischer Tweeted some snark of his own.

'Romney picks out & loud Gay as a spokesman. If personnel is policy, his message to the pro-family community: drop dead,' Fischer said.

When news of Grenell's resignation went public, Fischer said he was 'happy' that the Romney campaign had done 'the right thing.'

'I think it's probably going to be a long time before Gov. Romney hires another homosexual activist to a prominent position in his campaign,' Fischer said.

'And that's good news if you're in the pro-family community.'

Tony Perkins, president of the Family Research Council, also criticized Grenell.

'It's concerning that you would have somebody tapped to be potentially in an administration that would continue the policies that we're seeing in the Obama administration,' Perkins said.

While Grenell did not directly blame far-right Republicans for his decision to quit, he did claim in his farewell statement that 'my ability to speak clearly and forcefully on the issues has been greatly diminished by the hyper-partisan discussion of personal issues that sometimes comes from a presidential campaign.'

LGBT rights groups, however, were not so shy about pinning responsibility on right-wing Republicans.

'From the moment Richard Grennell signed on as Mitt Romney's Foreign Policy and National Security Spokesman, he faced a torrent of unfounded criticism from the far right,' HRC said in a statement.

'Not once did the Romney campaign condemn these attacks and support Grennell. Mitt Romney capitulating to the demands of extremist anti-Gay groups is nothing new.'

'Mitt Romney sat silently and let the bigoted wing of his party control his personnel choices,' Stonewall Democrats said.

'Either Mitt Romney is a coward who is afraid to stand up to the anti-LGBT bullies in his party, or he is fine with an America where LGBT people can have a career only if they're willing to work quietly from the confines of the closet.'

Romney campaign manager Matt Rhoades issued a tepid statement several hours after Grenell's resignation became public.

'We are disappointed that Ric decided to resign from the campaign for his own personal reasons,' he said. 'We wanted him to stay because he had superior qualifications for the position he was hired to fill.'

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