As we all know, for decades, "sexual perversion" (i.e., being gay) was a disqualifier for any position remotely related to national security—typist, say, or translator. That great Republican Dwight D. Eisenhower issued the executive order barring us from government employment in 1953. Clinton barred sexual-orientation discrimination in federal employment in 1998, but that barely made up for Don't Ask Don't Tell, which enshrined antigay discrimination in the military.
That's all better now, right? Right. Unless you're a Republican. As you may or may not have heard, for a few weeks there, Mitt Romney had a foreign policy spokesperson, Richard Grenell, who's gay. You and I might consider him disqualified from service on various grounds, such as the fact that Grenell previously worked for our favorite U.N. ambassador ever, John Bolton. But as you'd guess, that's not what got the attention of the Rs' antigay wing.
For a few weeks, I heard speculation about how long Grenell would last. Now we know. He resigned yesterday. As one wag wrote in a private email, "Well, this appointment lasted about as long as some Hollywood marriages." Bryan Fischer of the American Family Association is taking full and delighted responsibility for this "huge win."
I was surprised by the appointment, originally. Here in Massachusetts, Romney promised the Log Cabin Republicans that he'd be as gay-friendly as our moderate Republican governor William Weld—but then worked furiously to prevent same-sex marriage from becoming state law. In other words, you'll be absolutely shocked to hear, he lied. (Check out the Human Rights Campaign's comment on the resignation; key statement is "The fact that Grennell is gone so quickly after a right-wing uproar is a troubling harbinger of the kind of power that anti-gay forces would have in a Romney White House.") I wasn't at all surprised that Grenell "resigned"—freely, and for personal reasons, of course!
Would ENDA have saved his job? Mmm, maybe not.
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