Romney Blocked Anti-Bullying Guide in Mass. Because of 2 LGBT Words
The Boston Globe recently discovered that former governor Mitt Romney's administration blocked an anti-bullying public school guide from being published in Massachusetts in 2006 because officials took issue with the terms "bisexual" and "transgender."
At the time, Romney's aides said the guide's publication was being halted because of the length of the document and officials needed to more time to review it. The Globe, however, was able to get hold of an email that was written by a high-ranking Department of Public Health official that stated the real reason for the delay was because the guide uses the terms "bisexual" and "transgender."
"Because this is using the terms 'bisexual' and 'transgendered,' DPH's name may not be used in this publication,'' Alda Rego-Weathers, then the deputy commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, wrote.
Rego-Weathers also said in the email that she had been talking with Romney's office about the report, which was called "Guide to Bullying Prevention," and that it was blocked because the Department of Public Health was its primary sponsor.
The Globe points out that Romney's administration wanted the guide blocked because it was one of the many steps the Republican's aides took during his last year in office as Massachusetts governor to separate himself from LGBT related programs.
"Romney put his own political interests ahead of the safety of vulnerable youth,'' said Don Gorton, a gay-rights advocate and author of the guide.
The 120-page document was not published and distributed until Romney left office in 2008. About 10,000 copies were created during current Governor Deval Patrick's (D) first term in office.
The anti-bullying guide provides advice for Massachusetts public school workers and teachers on how to prevent bullying, cyber bullying and hazing. There is also a two-page section that tells how school officials should deal with LGBT youth who are bullied.
"The 2006 e-mail objecting to the 'bisexual' and 'transgender' language offers some of the clearest evidence of how some of Romney's actions in office aligned with the goals of socially conservative activists, a key constituency in Republican presidential primary elections," the Globe says.
The article notes that Romney has made other moves against the LGBT community while he was governor. In May 2006, Romney said he would shut down the Governor's Commission on Gay and Lesbian Youth because it sent out a press release with his name on it. The document promoted a parade to celebrate LGBT teens. In addition, in July of the same year the Republican vetoed a $158,000 budget line item that would go towards counseling violence victims in the LGBT community.
In May a story about Romney's bullying past made headlines and claimed that the presidential candidate was once a bully himself, the Associated Press reported.
The Washington Post accused Romney of hazing classmate John Lauber by holding him down and cutting off his hair. The newspaper said Lauber was "perpetually teased for his nonconformity and presumed homosexuality"
Romney apologized for his anti-gay bullying after the story received a high amount of press.
"I participated in a lot of hijinks and pranks during high school and some may have gone too far. And for that I apologize," Romney told Fox News' Brian Kilmeade during a radio interview.