It seems for the moment that the arc of the moral universe is bending toward equality. On the heels of the president's historic announcement supporting marriage equality last week, several officials and even rap mogul and philanthropist Jay-Z have come out on the right side of history. In a CNN interview Jay-Z stated, with regard to marriage equality, "I've always thought [of] it as something that was still holding the country back."
Exhibiting praise for inequality is not a business plan, nor should it be a campaign slogan, yet Mitt Romney seems comfortable playing the bigotry banjo as the rest of his camp claps and sings to the beat. Romney had a great opportunity when Richard Grenell, his openly gay national security spokesman, was being attacked by the far right for being gay, to speak out against such vitriol -- especially given that Grenell was so highly qualified. But instead of standing up to the bullies on the right, Romney took Grenell's resignation after just two weeks on the job.
What kind of leadership does that show? Not only did Romney reaffirm his support for inequality after the president's announcement last week, stating that "marriage is a relationship between a man and a woman," but he recently reversed a statement he made on gay adoption. Last week Romney said that he was "fine" with gay adoption, adding that "that's something that people have a right to do." But just when he was starting to make sense, he quickly did a political two-step and retracted his statement: "Actually, I think all states but one allow gay adoption. So that's a position which has been decided by most of the state legislatures, including the one in my state some time ago. So I simply acknowledge the fact that gay adoption is legal in all states but one."
Not only did Romney recant his earlier televised interview, but he did so by misstating the facts. Only 18 states and the District of Columbia allow same-sex parents to petition for joint adoption -- that's a far cry from "all states but one."
Romney reminds me of a kid who is trying his damnedest to get the "cool kids" to like him, but he's failing miserably to convince them he's "down." It's essentially a role reversal from his high-school days as "bully-in-chief," when he led a group of kids in holding down another student as Romney cut his hair while the victim cried and yelled for help. Now, instead of being his own man and showing that he has grown past the "pack mentality," he's decided instead to adopt the role of sheep, following the rest of the conservative right's flock -- right of a cliff! This is the same man who took to the Bay Windows paper in 1994 stating that he would "be better than Ted [Kennedy] for gay rights." Really? But like the right has said about Romney's bullying incident, you can't judge someone on things they did (or said) decades ago -- ain't that the truth!
Danielle Moodie-Mills is the Advisor to LGBT Policy and Racial Justice at the Center for American Progress. Read her musings on politics and pop culture at threeLOL.com, and follow her on Twitter @DeeTwoCents.