January 2, 2018 at 7:13 pm EDT | by Chris Johnson
These two anti-LGBT Republicans may run for Senate in 2018

Mitt Romney and Michele Bachmann may run for U.S. Senate. (Washington Blade file photos by Michael Key)

Shakeups in the U.S. Senate led to news Tuesday that two prominent Republicans and former presidential candidates who have anti-LGBT records — Mitt Romney and Michele Bachmann — may run in 2018.

Following passage of tax reform legislation, Sen. Orrin Hatch (R-Utah) announced he’d retire after four decades in the Senate, opening the door for Mitt Romney, who had publicly mulled the idea of running for the seat.

Meanwhile, former Rep. Michele Bachmann said on the Christian Broadcasting Network she’s considering a run for the seat in Minnesota being vacated by Sen. Al Franken (D-Minn.) amid allegations of sexual misconduct against him.

Bachmann, however, said she’s not certain and would consult God on whether she’s being called to pursue the open seat.

“If you’re going against the tide in D.C., if you’re trying to stand for biblical principles, and you stick your head up, the blades come whirring and they try to chop you off,” Bachmann said during the interview. “We’re trying to be wise. Should we do this? Shouldn’t we do this?”

Both Romney and Bachmann have extensive anti-LGBT records as public officials.

As Massachusetts governor, Romney most famously sought to limit the 2003 Goodridge decision at the Massachusetts Supreme Court making the Bay State the first with marriage equality and became a national spokesperson in favor of the Federal Marriage Amendment, which would have banned same-sex marriage nationwide.

According to MassEquality, Romney abolished the Governor’s Commission on GLBT Youth and rescinded an executive order prohibiting sexual orientation discrimination in the state workforce.

True to his reputation as a flip-flopper, Romney has also stated contradictory positions on LGBT issues. As a U.S. Senate candidate in 1994, Romney told Log Cabin Republicans he’d co-sponsor the Employment Non-Discrimination Act and would seek to expand it to include housing and credit, but later in 2006 said he doesn’t support ENDA and in 2007 called it a state issue.

A longtime favorite of social conservatives, Bachmann has an anti-LGBT record that has animated her career as far back as 2004 when she also championed the Federal Marriage Amendment and said “Gays live a very sad life” and “it’s part of Satan.”

In the course of her career in Congress, Bachmann voted against hate crimes protections legislation, repeal of “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell,” and a version of the Employment Non-Discrimination Act. She was elected to Congress too late to have voted on the Federal Marriage Amendment in either 2004 or 2006.

In 2012, both Romney and Bachmann in pursuit of the Republican presidential nomination staked out anti-LGBT positions and continued their push for a U.S. constitutional amendment that would have banned same-sex marriage nationwide. Bachmann ended up losing the nomination to Romney, but Romney came up short in his bid to unseat President Obama, who went on to serve a second term.

Both candidates signed a pledge with the anti-LGBT National Organization for Marriage committing themselves to back a Federal Marriage Amendment; defend the anti-gay Defense of Marriage Act in court; support legislation allowing D.C. residents to vote on its same-sex marriage law; and appoint a presidential commission to “investigate harassment of traditional marriage supporters.”

But after his defeat in the 2012 election, Romney made some surprising statements that struck a different tone in contrast to his anti-LGBT record. Romney recommended Arizona Gov. Jan Brewer veto a “religious freedom” bill seen to enable anti-LGBT discrimination. (Brewer took that advice and vetoed the bill, unlike Mike Pence, who as Indiana governor signed a similar measure and was forced to sign a “fix” amid criticism from the LGBT community and business advocates.)

After the mass shooting in 2016 at the gay nightclub in Orlando, Fla., that killed 49 people and wounded 58 others, Romney took to Twitter to say he and his wife would “say a special prayer for the LGBT community that was the focus of this attack.”

But Romney hasn’t publicly turned around from his opposition to same-sex marriage. In 2014, Romney said he still opposes same-sex marriage and it could be “generations” before the negative impact of marriage equality is determined.

Fred Karger, a gay consultant to Republican presidential candidates and himself a candidate for president in 2012, said Hatch is retiring to make room for Romney because the Mormon Church pushed out the former “in favor of a more obedient Mormon Church member.”

“Mormon Church leaders have been on a full-time mission for over a year to do just that,” Karger said.

Noting the history of antagonism between President Trump and Romney, who has called him unfit to serve in the White House, Karger predicted friction between the two if Romney is elected.

“It’s a case of the Mormon Church trumping Trump and his desire to keep Mitt Romney 2,000 miles away from Washington,” Karger said. “It will be fun to see Romney try and take on President Trump as he has in the past, only to be annihilated by the far more savvy politician.”

Bachmann hasn’t changed her tune at all. Earlier this year, Bachmann said President Trump was elected to the White House despite the odds against him because the Obama administration issued guidance requiring schools to allow transgender kids to use the restroom consistent with their gender identity, or as she put it “just issued a sheet of paper and said, overnight, every single public school in the country would have to have the girls’ bathrooms open to the boys and the boys’ bathrooms open to the girls.”

The advancement of transgender rights, Bachmann said, was too much for God, whom she “answered the prayers of believers beseeching him, and he’s given us a reprieve.”

Both Romney and Bachmann would be running in a mid-term when Democrats have considerable momentum amid discontent with Trump. But Romney might be a shoe-in to win in the conservative state of Utah. Bachmann would likely run against Minnesota Lt. Gov. Tina Smith, whom Gov. Mark Dayton tapped to succeed Franken on an interim basis.

Lucas Acosta, director of LGBT media for the Democratic National Committee, said voters won’t forget the anti-LGBT records of Romney and Bachmann as they head to the polls in the congressional mid-terms.

“Americans have already rejected the anti-LGBTQ extremism of Republicans like Michele Bachmann and Mitt Romney,” Acosta said. “Not only are their hateful views out-of-step with the country, but with a majority of Utahns and Minnesotans alike. Voters deserve candidates who will fight to protect their freedom to serve, work and love whomever they choose regardless of gender.”

Chris Johnson is Chief Political & White House Reporter for the Washington Blade. Johnson attends the daily White House press briefings and is a member of the White House Correspondents' Association. Follow Chris

38 Comments
  • You can NEVER trust Mitt Romney on glbt issues! He’s a pathological liar, chronic flipper flopper and consistent backstabber like the fake POTUS! He led the crusade against marriage equality to further his presidential ambitions with Christian conservatives and would do it again when it suits him!

    Frau Bachman obviously is a religious fanatic! She’s Christian conservative type I’ve warned against when saying being Muslim is not the problem rather all religious extremism is!!!

  • Why didn’t you post my comment?

    • I’m also having problems posting here as well . I posted a response earlier to another forum participant by copying and pasting. That post is still marked as pending. I reposted it typing it out by hand with only slight changes and it was accepted. I also intentionally left the last letter off of one word that may be causing my comment to be flagged (the last letter of a three letter word beginning with s and ending in x). I also removed all words containing that word such as homos–ual. Perhaps this is the reason it was not posted? I also intentionally left a p out of the word strip-ing in my second attempt to get my comment to post. Maybe this has something to do with it? I don’t know.

  • They’re Republicans. Is there any doubt they’re anti-LGBT. The entire GOP should be considered nothing less than an anti-LGBT hate group.

    • Nonsense. Utter nonsense.

      • You might want to start with reading the GOP’s national platform. How about Roy Moore, the officially endorsed and supported candidate of the Republican National Committee and the GOP’s titular head Donald Trump? You may want to check out some of Trump’s judicial picks.

        • and you might want to find out what bill and hillary clinton and barack obama had to say about gay people and gay marriage before they needed our money and votes

          • I’ve attempted to respond to you but my comment is marked as pending. Hopefully the Blade will approve it shortly.

          • Hillary and Obama now endorse marriage equality and the Obama administration fought for it before the SCOTUS! Obama said DOMA was unconstitutional! You’re grasping at straws with a red herring that won’t work!

            Meanwhile your GOP congressman went to court to force enforcement of DOMA wasting taxpayer money in the process!

            Your fake POTUS said he wanted to appoint people to the SCOTUS that would reverse marriage equality and enforce religious liberty to overturn glbt rights laws! Sessions his AG clearly endorses everything that opposes recognizing glbt rights with tacit approval by trump!

            Dupe yourself because you’re not duping the rest of us with your blatant lies!!!

          • You may wish to bring yourself up to date. Today’s GOP supports strip*ing civil marriage rights from gay men and women and continued legal discrimination against them. The Democratic Party, Clinton and Obama support full marriage equality as well as national discrimination protection for LGBT people. Do you remember any of Obama’s judicial picks ever declaring that individual states have a constitutional right to jail gay men and women? Several of Trump’s judicial candidates and current Republican platforms have stated that Lawrence v Texas is wrongfully decided law and consequently individual states should have an absolute right to criminalize our very existence. When Roy Moore was asked by a reporter if his biblical views about criminalizing gay se would also extend to him supporting putting gay people to death, Moore refused to say he would oppose that. The fact is that a Republican senate candidate (fully supported by the RNC and the titular head of the Republican Party, Donald Trump) refuses to rule out state sanctioned murder of gay men and women. This is TODAY’s GOP! When hate group leaders like Tony Perkins and others are invited to openly address the Republican national convention, one can conclude the obvious. Today’s GOP is an anti-LGBT hate group.

          • Nice talking points but some of us think with our brains instead of our genitals.

          • OK, so you decline to refute any of the points I made or defend the policy statements and political positions of the party which you support. Got it! There’s no need for you to engage me again.

          • You make this so easy! Hillary Clinton accepted millions in contributions from countries which routinely torture, stone, mutilate and kill women and gay people. Obama gave Iran millions if not billions and Iran is notorious for its treatment of gay people. But that’s OK with folks like you. Seems you have a problem in the hypocrisy department!

          • So what? Trump made a deal with Saudi Arabia last year which has laws that execute glbt people and didn’t flinch!

            He’s completely been silent on gay men in Chechnya and the torture they face there and loves Russia which forbids freedom of the press or public assembly for glbt!

            But that’s ok with folks like you. It’s you that have a problem in more than just the hypocrisy department! You should be ashamed!

          • Your unsolicited initial statement to me challenged my view of the Republican Party. I’ve made two substantive responses to you explaining the basis of my contention. You’ve replied several times now with vacuous, silly one sentence statements while never once addressing the Republican Party, which was the entire topic of my post. Now you expect me to follow you down some rabbit hole as you deflect to other unrelated topics like the Clinton Foundation? You’re entirely disingenuous and not worth any more of my time. Go troll elsewhere. Don’t bother me again.

          • Unrelated? How funny and so very typical of silly liberals when confronted with Clinton/Obama scandals! Thanks!

          • non-responsive. ignored

          • Missy Hatchett is a joke! She’s as thick as a brick! Why call yourself gay when you do everything against glbt interests? It shows a clear lack of sense if not impairment.

          • How typical your con denial when countered with anti-lgbt facts about the GOP and your fake potus! You can’t justify those actions by pointing to the clintons. It doesn’t support any argument that conservatives are better nor does it exonerate them! Obama and the clintons have rectified their past failures toward the lgbt community while the GOP and trump continue to do us wrong!

          • How can you think with your head is stuck up your rear end all the time? No oxygen means a brain atrophied!

            If where you put your genitals doesn’t matter then why identify as gay at all? You keep trolling here but prove you support nothing pro lgbt time and again!

        • Why don’t you read us the part of the
          GOP platform that you find so disturbing? We’ll wait. and then we’ll laugh.

      • Yes you are utter nonesense and useless to boot!

  • Romney, “anti-LGBT?” Please! He’s the “father of gay marriage” in America.

    Bachmann I can support wholeheartedly.

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