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Mitt Romney Cranbrook incident

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Increasing numbers and height of controversies marked the former governor Mitt Romney's perceived stance on Lesbian (WP), Gay (WP), Bisexual (WP) and Transgender (WP) people and issues, during his campaign for presidential election in 2012.

Anti-bullying guide censorship Edit

In 2006, state publication of a guide for Massachusetts public schools to prevent bullying in 2006 was blocked. Officials in Mitt Romney’s administration objected to use of the terms “bisexual’’ and “transgender’’ in the document. State records and interviews with current and former state officials show that the instances were in passages about protecting certain students from harassment.

“Because this is using the terms ‘bisexual’ and ‘transgendered,’ DPH’s name may not be used in this publication,’’-email from Alda Rego-Weathers, then-deputy-commissioner of the Massachusetts Department of Public Health, May 2006. Public records request by Boston Globe[1]

Romney aides said publicly at the time that publication of the guide had been delayed because it was a lengthy document that required further review. But this does not jibe with the the e-mail authored by a high-ranking Department of Public Health official.[1]

The funding was supposed to come from the Governor’s Task Force on Hate Crimes, but Romney ended that funding and the task force in his first year in office....On my own, I completed the work, brought it to the point it was ready for publication....then we were told a new level of review and scrutiny had been imposed...I’m skeptical that it was a good-faith review process.-Don Gorton, LGBTQ rights advocate and author of the 120-page anti-bullying report[2]

Cranbrook incident Edit

File:Cranbrook School Quadrangle.jpg

In May 2012, while Mitt Romney was running as the U.S. Presidential Candidate for the Republican Party, a story appeared in the press regarding an incident he was involved in at the Cranbrook academy.

The story first appeared in the Washington Post and described how Romney, in the spring of 1965 while a senior at Cranbrook, allegedly bullied John Lauber, a new student in his junior year who came to school with “bleached-blond hair that draped over one eye”. A former friend stated that Romney said: “He can’t look like that. That’s wrong. Just look at him!”[3]

Romney along with several other students allegedly tackled Lauber, pinning him down as he cried and screamed for help, while Romney cut his hair with a pair of scissors. [4]

Romney's classmates recall numerous pranks that Romney played while at Cranbrook, according to the Washington Post article.

Long hair (WP) on men and boys was widely disapproved of in the 1960s, and rules prohibiting boys from having long hair were not unusual in both public and private high schools. U.S. courts tolerated such rules in public high schools as late as 1971. During that year a Supreme Court Justice dismissed a case against such a rule, saying, "the Constitution does not give high school boys the right to wear their hair long".[5]


File:Cranbrook School A D 1927.jpg

The article was researched by Washington Post reporter Jason Horowitz and Julie Tate. Five classmates were reportedly interviewed as well as Lauber's sisters. The five made collaborating statements and four of them permitted their names to be used.

Philip Maxwell
Considered the act to be Wikipedia:assault and battery, describing he and his friends as a “pack of dogs.” [6] He also stated "It was vicious."[4]
Matthew Friedemann
“He was just easy pickins,” [4]
Thomas Buford
“It happened very quickly, and to this day it troubles me,” “What a senseless, stupid, idiotic thing to do.” [7]
David Seed
Recalled meeting Lauber thirty years later in O'Hare airport. According to Seed, Lauber recalled the incident as being "horrible" and “It’s something I have thought about a lot since then.” [4]

Biography of victim Edit

John Lauber was expelled from Cranbrook for smoking a cigarette.[4]

He died in 2004, prior to the story; however, the Washington Post interviewed his surviving sisters. His sister Chris confirmed he bleached his hair and continued to do so until he died.

His sister Betsy Lauber released a statement on behalf of the family to ABC News, saying, "The family of John Lauber is releasing a statement saying the portrayal of John is factually incorrect and we are aggrieved that he would be used to further a political agenda. There will be no more comments from the family." One of his other sisters, Christine Lauber, stated “Even if it did happen, John probably wouldn’t have said anything." [8]

Romney responseEdit

Romney's campaign provided a statement that was published in the Washington Post that read: “The stories of fifty years ago seem exaggerated and off base and Governor Romney has no memory of participating in these incidents.”

Romney himself on May 10, 2012 offered a blanket apology for anything that might have slipped his mind. According to an interview with Wikipedia:Brian Kilmeade on Fox Radio:

Back in high school, you know, I did some dumb things, and if anybody was hurt by that or offended, obviously, I apologize for that… You know, I don’t, I don’t remember that particular incident [laughs]… I participated in a lot of high jinks and pranks during high school, and some might have gone too far, and for that I apologize.[9][10]

In the interview Romney further stated, I certainly don't believe that I thought the fellow was homosexual.[11]

Fall out and news reportsEdit

The Washington Post originally reported that Stu White, one of Romney's friends, had “long been bothered” by the haircutting incident. The Washington Post then corrected its article by saying he had been bothered "since hearing about it several weeks ago, before being contacted by The Washington Post." without initially noting the correction.[12]

Subsequent to the articles release in the digital version on May 10th 2012 the print version the following day contained a minor change. The Washington Post, issued a statement that clarified a point in the article. They did not call this a correction, rather they termed it an "editors note." This note read:

  • Editor’s Note: An earlier version of this story reported that White “has long been bothered” by the Lauber incident. White later clarified in a subsequent interview that he has been disturbed by the incident since he learned of it several weeks ago from a former classmate, before being contacted by The Washington Post. [13]

According to Andrew Beaujon writing for Poynter, "Right wing blogs went bananas over this correction". [14]

This in turn led to more details of the vetting process employed by the Washington Post. Jason Horowitz, among others, reportedly worked 3 weeks on the article. The editor that reviewed it before publication was "The Post’s Wikipedia:Pulitzer Prize-winning writer and associate editor, Wikipedia:David Maraniss, who is known for his best-selling biographies of major U.S. political figures."[15]

LGBT political positions Edit

Prior to Romney's 2008 presidential campaign, he had a varied history regarding Wikipedia:LGBT rights in the United States.

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Political positions of Mitt Romney
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LGBT rightsEdit

During his 1994 senate campaign and 2002 Massachusetts gubernatorial campaign, Romney said he would have a better policy providing for domestic partnerships than his Democratic opponents.[16] In 1994, Romney sent a letter to the Wikipedia:Log Cabin Republicans saying that he would be a stronger advocate for gay rights in the Senate than his opponent at the time, Senator Wikipedia:Edward M. Kennedy. His letter included the phrase "We must make equality for gays and lesbians a mainstream concern."[17] In 2002, Romney spoke regarding domestic partnership benefits, saying, "All citizens deserve equal rights, regardless of their sexual orientation." Romney said that domestic partnership status should be recognized in a way that includes the potential for health benefits and rights of survivorship.[18][19]

In 1994, Romney supported the Wikipedia:Employment Non-Discrimination Act, but by 2006 he had changed his mind and opposed it because it would "unfairly penalize employers at the hands of activist judges."[20]

Romney supported Bill Clinton's "Wikipedia:Don't ask, don't tell" policy in 1994, and continued to do so in 2007.[21][22] Romney said in 2007 that he thinks that the "Don't ask, don't tell" policy is working and he would not change it, especially in the middle of a war, and that "we have much bigger issues as a nation that we ought to be talking about than that policy right now."[23]

In December, 2011, however, Romney told the Des Moines Register that now that the "Don't ask, don't tell" policy has been repealed, "I’m not planning on reversing that at this stage. I was not comfortable making the change during a period of conflict, due to the complicating features of a new program in the middle of two wars going on, but those wars are winding down, and moving in that direction at this stage no longer presents that problem.”[24]

Romney has stated his support for traditional marriage and opposition to both same-sex marriage and Wikipedia:civil unions,[25] though he supports some Wikipedia:domestic partnership benefits and (at the state level) supports anti-discrimination laws to protect gays and lesbians in the workplace.[26]

As a candidate for governor in 2002, Romney said: "Call me old fashioned, but I don't support gay marriage nor do I support civil union." During that 2002 campaign, he also supported hate crimes legislation and opposed other discrimination against gays, while supporting some partner benefits for gays.[27]

Also in 2002, Romney opposed a Massachusetts constitutional amendment that would have banned same-sex marriage and domestic partnerships because the amendment, which was supported by the Democratic leader Wikipedia:Tom Finneran, would have prohibited domestic partnership benefits for gays and lesbians.[28]

Romney said,

"Basically I see the provision of basic civil rights and domestic partnership benefits [as] a campaign against Tom Finneran. I see Tom Finneran and the Democratic leadership as having opposed the application of domestic partnership benefits to gay and lesbian couples and I will support and endorse efforts to provide those domestic partnership benefits to gay and lesbian couples."[28]

In November 2003, the Wikipedia:Massachusetts Supreme Court ruled that the Wikipedia:Massachusetts State Constitution requires that same-sex marriage be permitted under law; in response this time, Governor Romney supported a state constitutional amendment to forbid such marriages.[29]

In 2006, Romney announced his support of the Wikipedia:Federal Marriage Amendment, which would have federally defined marriage in the U.S. Constitution as the union of one man and one woman.[30][31][29]

Romney said during his 2008 presidential campaign,

[M]y view on marriage has been entirely consistent over my political career. And that is that I oppose same-sex marriage. I also oppose civil unions . . . ever since [same-sex marriage] became a prominent [feature] in my state, with the decision of the Supreme Judicial Court, I have taken every action that I could conceive of within the bounds of the law to defend traditional marriage and to stop same-sex marriage . . . I've been to Washington to testify in favor of traditional marriage. I've written a letter to every U.S. senator on the topic . . . I believe that traditional marriage is right for the nurturing and development of children, but that I do not want to discriminate against gay people in employment or housing or other parts of their life.[32]

In July 2011, Romney refused to sign a pledge opposing gay marriage, a pledge that was being circulated by "The Family Leader", a conservative Christian group in Iowa.[33] On August 4, 2011, a month later, Romney publicly denounced same-sex marriage by signing the 2012 Presidential Pledge sponsored by the Wikipedia:National Organization for Marriage.[34] He has expressed support for gay adoption.[35]


  1. 1.0 1.1 No mention of ‘bisexual,’ ‘transgender’ under Romney-Words brought halt to antibullying guide] Boston Globe,, Home / News / Politics, Campaign 2012, Murray Waas and Christopher Rowland, Globe Correspondent/ Globe Staff, June 12, 2012
  2. Romney Blocked Anti-Bullying Guide as Mass. Governor over Mention of "Bisexual," "Transgender", Democracy Now!, Tuesday, June 12, 2012
  3. Mitt Romney's prep school classmates recall pranks but also troubling incidents, Washinton Post, by Jason Horowitz, May 10, 2012
  4. 4.0 4.1 4.2 4.3 4.4 Horowitz, Jason (1965-06-12). "Classmates recall Romney's pranks — and darker incidents | Politics | The Seattle Times". Retrieved 2012-05-12. 
  5. "Supreme Court Refuses to Hear Long Hair Case". 1971-02-12. A1. Retrieved 2012-05-11. "Justice Hugo L. Black, all but bald and going on 85, concluded Thursday the Constitution does not give high school boys the right to wear their hair long." 
  6. "Former Romney Classmate Describes ‘Bullying Supreme’ – A ‘Pack of Dogs’ Who Targeted ‘Different’ Boy - ABC News". Retrieved 2012-05-11. 
  7. Cohen, Richard (2011-03-17). "Romney’s too-cute apology - PostPartisan". The Washington Post. Retrieved 2012-05-11. 
  8. Jaffe, Matthew (May 10, 2012). "Sister of Alleged Romney Target Has ‘No Knowledge’ of Any Bullying Incident". ABC News. 
  9. Amy Davidson. Mitt Romney bully. Wikipedia:The New Yorker. May 10, 2012.
  10. Romney counters notion bullied gay classmates. Fox News / AP, May 10, 2012.
  11. "'I didn’t believe he was homosexual': Mitt Romney apologizes after gay bullying report". May 10, 2012. Retrieved May 12, 2012. 
  12. Washington Post Romney Hit Piece Implodes by Ben Shapiro, May 11, 2011
  13. Washington Post change to Romney story wasn't a correction, Poynter, by Andrew Beaujon, May 11, 2012
  14. 173701/washington-post-change-to-romney-story-wasnt-a-correction/ Washington Post change to Romney story wasn't a correction, Poynter, by Andrew Beaujon, May 11, 2012
  15. Mitt Romney bully story holds up to scrutiny, by Washington Post ombudsman, Patrick Pexton, published in Washington Post, May 11, 2012
  16. John Heilemann (February 11, 2007). "The Right Man". New York. Retrieved June 21, 2007. 
  17. Nagourney, Adam; Kirkpatrick, David D. (2006-12-09). "Romney's Gay Rights Stance Draws Ire". Wikipedia:The New York Times. Retrieved 2007-02-21. 
  18. McElhenny, John (October 16, 2002). "Shannon O'Brien supports gay marriage". Wikipedia:Daily Collegian. Retrieved December 10, 2006. 
  19. "Mitt Romney on the Issues" Romney for Governor 2002. Retrieved December 11, 2006.
  20. Signorile, Michelangelo. "Romney Likes 'Being Able to Fire People' for Being Gay." HuffPost News, 10 January 2012.
  21. Michael Luo (2007-09-08). "Romney's Tone on Gay Rights Is Seen as Shift". The New York Times. Retrieved 2007-11-24. 
  22. John Solomon (2007-02-19). "Romney Supports 'Don't Ask, Don't Tell'". Wikipedia:The Washington Post. Retrieved 2008-01-01. 
  23. "New Hampshire Republican Presidential Debate". CNN. 2007-06-05. Retrieved 2010-05-22. 
  24. "Mitt Romney now supports gays in military?". 2011-12-12. Retrieved 2012-01-08. 
  25. Gallagher, Maggie (June 25, 2004). "In Defense of the Family". National Review. Retrieved 2006-12-08. 
  26. "Mitt Romney on the Issues" Romney for Governor 2002.'.' Retrieved December 11, 2006.
  27. Phillips, Frank (2005-02-23). "Romney's stance on civil unions draws fire". Wikipedia:The Boston Globe. Retrieved 2006-12-10. 
  28. 28.0 28.1 "Don't dismiss Romney, gay Republicans say" Bay Windows Laura Kiritsy, October 24, 2002
  29. 29.0 29.1 Karen Tumulty, "What Romney believes" Time. May 10, 2007.
  30. Romney, Mitt (June 2, 2006). "Letter to the US Senate" (PDF). Retrieved 2006-12-08. 
  31. "Testimony of Honorable Mitt Romney, Governor, Massachuetts". US Senate Committee on the Judiciary. June 22, 2004. Retrieved 2006-12-08. 
  32. "Q&A: Mitt Romney Discusses Iraq War, Reagan's Influence and Gay Marriage". Human Events. 2006-12-28. Retrieved 2007-06-17. 
  33. Beaumont, Thomas (July 12, 2011). "APNewsBreak: Romney rejects gay marriage pledge". Retrieved 2011-07-14. 
  34. Brian Montopoli (2011-08-04). "Mitt Romney pledges opposition to gay marriage". CBS News. Retrieved 2011-08-07. 
  35. Romney Supports Gay Adoption, Says He Doesn’t Recall High School Bullying Incident retrieved 20 May 2012

External linksEdit

David Murray (June, 2012). "Mitt Romney". Wikipedia:Automobile magazine.