Presumptive Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney stressed during a speech at the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People’s annual convention in Houston on Wednesday that he would represent Americans of “every race, creed and sexual orientation” if elected.
The former Massachusetts governor also stressed his opposition to nuptials for gays and lesbians.
“As president, I will promote strong families and defend traditional marriage,” said Romney.
Audience members applauded–and not booed the former Massachusetts governor as the Blade initially reported–this point. They booed Romney, however, when he suggested that he would repeal the health care reform bill that President Obama signed into law in March 2010.
“It is the president’s duty to protect all Americans and their families under the law,” Sharon Lettman-Hicks, executive director of the National Black Justice Coalition, told the Blade. “Thousands of LGBT couples are raising children and have marriages rooted in love and lifelong commitment — you don’t get more traditional than that. The U.S. Census shows that these couples are also more likely to be people of color, especially African American. If Romney’s pledge is to represent Americans of ‘every race, creed and sexual orientation,’ that includes loving and committed LGBT couples and the families they are providing for and protecting.”
R. Clarke Cooper, executive director of Log Cabin Republicans, also reacted to Romney’s speech.
“With his opening remarks to the NAACP today, Gov. Romney sent a message that he recognizes the importance of an inclusive Republican vision for victory in November. He deserves credit for taking the step to include sexual orientation by name,” he said. “That said, it is unfortunate that he countered his outreach to gay and lesbian Americans with a gratuitous attack on the freedom to marry. If Gov. Romney truly desires to represent all Americans, Log Cabin Republicans encourages him to avoid divisive social issues and focus on jobs and the economy.”
“Mitt Romney doesn’t seem to think LGBT families deserve the same dignity and respect as the other families he vowed to protect in his remarks today before the NAACP,” added Human Rights Campaign spokesperson Fred Sainz. “Romney refuses to recognize civil unions for LGBT couples – an extremist position he doesn’t even share with former President George W. Bush. Despite the NAACP’s historic endorsement of marriage equality and polling that shows nearly 60 percent of African Americans support marriage for their LGBT friends and loved ones, Romney continues to tow the line that LGBT people don’t deserve equal rights, benefits and protections under the law.”