Mitt Romney’s openly gay foreign policy spokesman resigns

Richard Grenell, Mitt Romney’s recently appointed Foreign Policy and National Security spokeman, has resigned after being on the receiving end of a wave of uproar from anti-gay conservatives.

Grenell’s official statement:

“I have decided to resign from the Romney campaign as the Foreign Policy and National Security Spokesman. While I welcomed the challenge to confront President Obama’s foreign policy failures and weak leadership on the world stage, my ability to speak clearly and forcefully on the issues has been greatly diminished by the hyper-partisan discussion of personal issues that sometimes comes from a presidential campaign. I want to thank Governor Romney for his belief in me and my abilities and his clear message to me that being openly gay was a non-issue for him and his team.”

Grenell’s homosexuality and support for marriage equality opposed Romney’s position on the issue.

Figures like American Family Association’s Bryan Fischer called into question how his placement reflected Mitt Romney’s actual views on homosexuals and Grenell’s own inability to separate himself from the “homosexual agenda.” Fischer stated that “you cannot separate religious liberty from the issue of the homosexual agenda. In fact, the homosexual agenda represents the single greatest threat to religious liberty and association in America today.”

Michelangelo Signorile wrote for the Huffington Post:

Actually, I believe this is a big win for progressives and for gay journalists and commentators, as well. We drew out the conservative leaders in addition to Fischer, like Family Research Council’s Tony Perkins, Gary Bauer, and other commentators on and The Daily Caller, by bringing forth and continually highlighting the true facts about Grenell, which, to most Americans, are completely acceptable, but which, in the eyes of the evangelical right, make him a radical homosexual. As I wrote in a post last week, Grenell isn’t just gay, like some other gay Republicans who stay quiet about their homosexuality. He’s a gay man who very publicly expressed that he wants to get married to another man and who believes President Obama isn’t adequate on LGBT rights.

Why is it this a win? Because Grenell was being used for cover by a candidate with abhorrently anti-gay positions, a man who has promised to “propose and promote” a federal marriage amendment if elected president. I don’t buy the argument made by some that it was a measure of progress that Romney hired a gay man as his foreign policy spokesperson when he’s using that gay man to make himself appear moderate to independents while promising the GOP base that he’ll make gay people into second-class citizens. Actual progress in the GOP will come when their presidential candidates stop bowing to bigots and refuse to sign their extremist pledges. Otherwise, it’s all window dressing.

The Romney camp expressed their disappointment in Grenell’s resignation, stating:

“We are disappointed that Ric decided to resign from the campaign for his own personal reasons. We wanted him to stay because he had superior qualifications for the position he was hired to fill.”