Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney on Tuesday clinched the Republican presidential nomination with his win in the Texas GOP primary.
“I am honored that Americans across the country have given their support to my candidacy and I am humbled to have won enough delegates to become the Republican Party’s 2012 presidential nominee,” he said in a statement posted on his campaign website. “Our party has come together with the goal of putting the failures of the last three and a half years behind us. I have no illusions about the difficulties of the task before us. But whatever challenges lie ahead, we will settle for nothing less than getting America back on the path to full employment and prosperity. On Nov. 6, I am confident that we will unite as a country and begin the hard work of fulfilling the American promise and restoring our country to greatness.”
The Texas contest caps off a contentious Republican primary season during which Romney often clashed with his GOP challengers.
The former Massachusetts governor repeatedly expressed support for a federal constitutional amendment that would define marriage as between a man and a woman–National Organization for Marriage President Brian Brown endorsed Romney because of what he described as his “commitment to the nation to take specific actions as president to preserve and protect marriage as the union of one man and one woman.” Romney has previously said that he opposes anti-gay discrimination, but activists have consistently criticized the former Massachusetts governor for what they perceive are inconsistent positions on “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” the Employment Non-Discrimination Act and other LGBT-specific measures and issues.
The Romney campaign in late April tapped gay former Bush administration official Richard Grenell as its national security spokesperson. He resigned earlier this month after his appointment sparked outrage among social conservatives.
“During the primaries, Gov. Romney distinguished himself as the best in a field of worsts on issues of equality for LGBT Americans,” Human Rights Campaign spokesperson Fred Sainz told the Blade. “Now that he’s clinched his party’s nomination, we hope that he’ll give careful reconsideration to the most basic issues of equality that he previously opposed.”
Jimmy LaSalvia, executive director of GOProud, welcomed Romney’s presumptive nomination.
“All Americans—including gay Americans—will now decide if we are willing to continue to hope for change, or we will vote to elect Mitt Romney, a proven leader who can bring America back,” he said.
R. Clarke Cooper, executive director of Log Cabin Republicans, had a slightly more tepid reaction.
“Mitt Romney now has the votes to clinch the Republican nomination this August,” he told the Blade. “If the Romney campaign wants make clear that the Republican candidate believes in a society where Americans are judged solely on their ability to perform, now is the time to prove it by showing unambiguous support for federal protections from workplace discrimination.”
Cooper further noted that 66 percent of registered GOP voters now support these legal provisions.
“If Mitt Romney were to stand up tomorrow and declare that no American should ever fear for their job because of who they are, it would be a win for all of us, including the candidate himself,” he said.