Anyone who’s been paying attention knows that Mitt Romney — who expediently claimed to support LGBT rights while running for office in Massachusetts and famously promised to be better for gay rights than Ted Kennedy — has a long history of anti-LGBT bigotry (including bullying) and has worked very hard to fight the progress of equality, both during his tenure as Governor of Massachusetts and in his efforts to court suspicious social conservatives during his bids for the presidency.
Last week, two progressive groups — the Courage Campaign SuperPAC and American Bridge 21st Century — launched a new web campaign called “Mitt Gets Worse,” a play on words meant to echo sex columnist and activist Dan Savage’s enormously successful “It Gets Better” project. The video campaign intends to highlight Romney’s extreme anti-LGBT agenda by publishing testimonies from people who have firsthand experience dealing with Romney on issues of LGBT equality.
And its first video is a doozy. It features Julie Goodridge, who was a co-lead plaintiff in the landmark case Goodridge v. Department of Public Health. In 2003 — during Mitt Romney’s term as Governor of Massachusetts — that state’s Supreme Court decided the case in favor of the plaintiffs, marking the first time in history that an American state supreme court recognized the right of same-sex couples to marry.
Goodridge’s story is compelling. When she gave birth to her daughter Annie in 1995, there were severe complications. Annie was rushed to the intensive care unit, so Goodridge’s then-partner Hillary followed in order to be with their child. When Hillary tried to return to her partner’s bedside, she was denied entry into the recovery room because she was not recognized as Goodridge’s next of kin. Distraught, Hillary then attempted to rejoin their daughter in the ICU, but was barred from seeing her daughter because she wasn’t regarded as the infant’s “real mother.”
Naturally, as one of Massachusetts’ highest-profile LGBT activists, Julie Goodridge spent an awful lot of time educating her fellow citizens about why marriage matters to same-sex couples. A self-described optimist, Goodridge and other equality supporters sought to meet with Governor Romney because they thought, in her words, that “if we can change the minds of all of these citizens in Massachusetts. . . we can talk to the governor.”
According to Goodridge, Governor Romney initially refused to grant the group any time whatsoever. She alleges that Romney only relented under pressure from the media, and that when the meeting finally did occur, it was “truthfully the most frustrating experience that [she] had in the entire marriage case. . . both [Goodridge and her partner] had some pretty frustrating conversations, but this one took the cake.” The governor allegedly acted as though he didn’t know who they were, despite the fact that they were plaintiffs in a landmark case, essentially setting the tone for the rest of the meeting.
However, it’s what Goodrich says happened at the end of that meeting that chilled this blogger to the bone:
“I looked [Romney] 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.’ And he looked at me, and he said — kind of 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?’” (emphasis added)
I was so shocked by the sheer disdain in Romney’s remarks that I literally gasped as I listened to Julie Goodrich recount them. She continued:
“I have never in my life stood before someone who had no capacity for empathy like Mitt Romney. 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 rights to get married.”
For the record, Truth Wins Out does not endorse political candidates or parties of any kind. However, as an organization dedicated to fighting anti-LGBT extremism, we will absolutely not hesitate to condemn those extremists wherever we find them, and this includes politicians of all stripes. Mitt Romney’s mistreatment of Julie Goodridge and her family betrays his true feelings toward lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender people: utter contempt for our lives and our families, and detached indifference to the suffering, discrimination, and injustice that we bear.
And that — regardless of one’s political opinion of Mitt Romney — should send chills up the spine of every equality-minded person in America.
Watch Julie Goodridge’s testimony below: