The Romney campaign has reportedly hired a gay veteran GOP communication specialist and former Bush administration official as its spokesperson for national security issues.
According to a Washington Post report on Wednesday, Romney has brought onto his campaign, Richard Grenell. The report says he brings “foreign policy chops and more than a decade of political experience to the aggressive but relatively young Romney staff.”
Grenell served as all eight years during the Bush administration as director of communications and public diplomacy at the United Nations, advising four U.S. ambassadors to the United Nations. After the Bush administration ended, Grenell became at a partner at the Los Angeles-based Capitol Media Partners.
The Post report doesn’t mention Grenell’s sexual orientation, but a number of media outlets have previously reported that he’s gay. Los Angeles-based lesbian journalist Karen Ocamb reported on Grenell’s sexual orientation Wednesday night.
According to a 2008 report in The Advocate, Grenell engaged in a four-year struggle with the State Department to have his long-time partner, Matt Lashey, listed in the United Nations’ Blue Book, a reference guide of contact information for diplomatic personnel and their spouses. He was told by the State Department at the time that his partner couldn’t be listed because they weren’t legally married.
Chuck Wolfe, CEO of the Gay & Lesbian Victory Fund, praised Grenell for taking on the role with the Romney campaign.
“Good for him,” Wolfe said. “We applaud the participation of out professionals in government and politics. Whether you’re a Democrat or a Republican, serving openly is important. It allows you to speak honestly about yourself and the LGBT community to colleagues inside campaigns and government offices.”
Grenell is no stranger to speaking to the LGBT community on LGBT-related policy issues. In op-ed to the Washington Blade published on April 20 titled, “Gay Dems excuse Obama’s failings for party invitations,” Grenell criticizes Obama supporters for praising him and attending State Dinners while the president continues to “evolve” on same-sex marriage.
But Grenell is working for a presidential candidate whom many have accused of being anti-gay. Romney opposes same-sex marriage and has signed a pledge with the National Organization for Marriage committing himself to back a Federal Marriage Amendment, defend the Defense of Marriage Act in court and appoint a commission on “religious liberty” to investigate the alleged harassment of same-sex marriage opponents. NOM has also endorsed Romney.