Local LGBT advocacy groups clash with Romney’s message
Published: Tuesday, September 4, 2012
Updated: Tuesday, September 4, 2012 19:09
Former Massachusetts governor, Mitt Romney, formally accepted the Republican presidential nomination Thursday in Tampa, Florida.
Equality Illinois, a lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender advocacy group was also at the convention lobbying Illinois republicans.
While Romney promised to create “jobs, lots of jobs,” and to fix the economy, his platform sparked controversy on social justice issues. He urged state and federal governments against recognizing same-sex marriages, strictly defining it as the union between a man and a woman.
At the Republican National Convention, Republican vice-presidential running mate Paul Ryan also spoke out against same-sex marriages describing Romney as “a defender of marriage”.
Equality Illinois criticized both Ryan and Romney regarding their platform and comments made at the RNC on Thursday, according to a released statement.
“The proposed Republican platform flies in the face of the growing national consensus behind equality for lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender people in general and marriage equality specifically,” Bernard Cherkasov, CEO of Equality Illinois, according to the release. It also said that the non-partisan organization was invited by GOP leadership to sponsor events such as a state delegation luncheon at the Sheraton Sand Key Beach Resort in Florida.
“We have to take a bipartisan approach to secure the legislative majorities we need to advance equality, and there are statewide Republican officeholders who support us regardless of what the national party says,” said Randy Hannig, director of Public Policy of Equality Illinois.
Not every LGBT community, however, adopts a stance against the Romney-Ryan ticket.
GOProud, a national conservative LGBT support group endorsed Romney and praised Ryan’s RNC speech.
“For far too long, the gay left in this country has been allowed to dictate what they believe qualify as ‘gay issues,’” said Jimmy LaSalvia, GOProud executive director. “We think that jobs, the economy, health care, retirement security and taxes are all ‘gay issues,’ and on every single one of those issues, Mitt Romney is light years better than President Obama.”
Lucas Barnhill, president of the Roosevelt LGBT organization RU Proud, weighed in on the Romney platform’s opposition to same-sex marriages and statements made at the RNC.
“I don’t think it’s wise or respectable to base your platform on a premise of inequality, but from what I’ve seen of Mitt Romney, I’m not surprised,” Barnhill said. “Republicans notoriously don’t have the best interest for our community, and I don’t expect that to change anytime soon.”
However, in Barnhill’s opinion, there are some more serious issues at hand than same-sex marriage that must be overcome to ensure social equality.
“People in our community face violence, fear and assault every day, and I believe that working towards a more accepting, understanding society is much higher on my list of things to accomplish than the right to legally marry my partner,” he said.
RU Proud’s mission is to unite like-minded students into a welcoming environment. The group also hosts educational events to bring awareness to issues within the LGBT community.
The group’s first meeting is Sept. 10 at 5 p.m. in Wabash building room 648.
Should lawmakers legalize same-sex marriage? Weigh in on the debate with @RUTORCH.