Mitt Romney Insults a Vietnam Veteran with his Heterosexist Assumptions

At a campaign stop at a diner in New Hampshire, presidential candidate Mitt Romney made a bee-line towards a man wearing a Vietnam Veteran cap and “sidled up next to him“. Although gays have always served in the military, apparently it never occurred to Romney that a veteran might be gay and that the man sitting next to this veteran could be his husband.

Mr. Garon & Mitt Romeny

After some friendly banter about their ages, Bob Garon asked the former Massachusetts governor whether he supports repealing New Hampshire’s same sex marriage law.

Romney said he did, saying, “I believe marriage is between a man and a woman. That’s my view.”

Garon challenged Romney, saying, “If two men get married, apparently a veteran’s spouse would not be entitled to any burial benefits or medical benefits or anything that the serviceman has devoted his time and effort to his country, and you just don’t support equality in terms of same-sex marriage?”

Romney reiterated his support for the Defense of Marriage Act, and added, “And we apparently disagree.”

“It’s good to know how you feel,” Garon said. “That you do not believe that everyone is entitled to their constitutional rights.”

“Until the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA) is repealed or declared unconstitutional by the Supreme Court, benefits based on marital status are unavailable to legally married gay veterans and their same-sex spouses,” according to Servicemembers Legal Defense Network.

Shortly after this exchange, aides worked to extricate Romney from the conversation. And well they should, since Romney was essentially saying that he believes in second class citizenship for those who don’t live according to his personal Mormon religious beliefs, combat service to the country be damned.

Speculating on Romney’s presidential bid, Garon said “The guy ain’t going to make it. He is not going to make it…You can’t trust him. I just saw it in his eyes. I judge a man by his eyes.”

UPDATE: Click here to watch the video!

Cross-posted at Pam’s House Blend.


25 Comments . Leave a comment below.
  1. Equal Laws, not Judgement Calls

    Look, the laws should be equal, giving any 2 adults that are not related (to the required degree) the right to get married.

    The government should not act like a dating service or a church, determining which non-related adults can get married and which can’t.

    It’s really sad that candidates run on not letting “Adam and Steve” get married, when “Joe the Ax Murderer” and “Jennie the Thrill Seeker” are allowed to get married in all 50 states.

  2. Here's the video (embedded, I hope)

    Here’s the embedded video for those who want to confirm that laurel has accurately characterized the exchange (which I think she has):

  3. I think this worked

    In the embed code, you have to change the word “always” to “never”.

    This moment is classic- btw. Thanks for sharing

  4. Hilariously deserved

    I just find it almost vengefully fitting that Romney ends up sitting next to this man. I can’t imagine there are too many politically aggressive, openly gay veterans in New Hampshire…and Romney ends up talking to him. Love it.

    Poor Mitt. They don’t have people like Bob in the restaurants Mitt usually visits — and if they do, such people know their place.

    sabutai   @   Mon 12 Dec 9:01 PM
  5. Here’s a version from YouTube:

  6. Mrs. Goldstein suggests that Mitt should henceforth vet the vets.

    Mr. Goldstein hears the whoosh of pressurized hydrogen leaking from a dirigible. What’s up with that?

  7. So much more...

    straightforward than the directions that the debate tends to go.

  8. His partner shouldn't get funeral benefits

    Garon is a 63 year old Vietnam Veteran who married his partner in June. I don’t think that’s what we have in mind when we provide funeral benefits to spouses of veterans. I think we had in mind a vet who returns and has a family and stays married to his wife till they both die. It’s not supposed to be a “free funeral for a friend” benefit. I think it should only apply to marriages that happen before age 40.

    • Sure, let's be arbitrary!

      How about this: when a man and woman marry later in life and one dies, the surviving spouse shouldn’t get the Social Security benefits of the deceased.

      Oh, and by the way, pththt!

      • We gotta cut something

        I say, cut all federal marriage benefits of post-40 marriages. Or maybe, post-40, unless they have a biological child together.

        • You're right, we gotta cut something!!

          How about this? Let’s cut:

          The bloated defense budget
          The money for endless wars that make us less safe by creating new generations of terrorists – but I repeat myself
          Subsidies for hugely profitable energy companies
          Subsidies for giant agri-businesses
          Subsidies for the nuclear industry
          Tax breaks for the purchase of private jets
          Other forms of corporate welfare
          Tax breaks for companies that ship jobs overseas

          After we’ve cut all of those, I’ll be happy to take a look at survivors benefits for our troops – but I’m thinking we’ll probably be able to afford to take care of the troops with all of those savings…

    • Have you no decency?

      “Free funeral for a friend”? Really? Are you this much of an a**hole in real life, or do you just play one here?

      Your “logic” is so riddled with holes and contradictions that it isn’t worth pursuing. Let me offer just one tiny example. Suppose that “Michael” fought in Vietnam, came home, divorced his wife, and a decade later (at 39) married “Susan”. Your “logic” denies Susan the funeral benefits of Michael. You are twisting yourself into a pretzel in your attempt to impose your homophobia (and your own narrow beliefs about marriage) on the rest of us.

      How dare you suggest “what we have in mind when we provide funeral benefits to spouses of veterans”. How dare you suggest that the rest of us share your homophobia. The depth of your apparent contempt for another human being is astonishing.

      Have you no decency?

      • No, at 39, she'd just squeak by

        I’m positive that social security spousal benefits were designed to cover wives back in the day when people got married for life and had a single family income. I think it’s time to change that system. We are gonna cut social security benefits and start means testing, etc. In addition, we should cut survivor benefits of marriages that happened after the woman turned 40, unless they had a child together. It is repugnant that we would give full veteran survivor and funeral benefits on some random guy when we have to cut benefits for people who didn’t try to take advantage of the system.

        • No, that's why I chose 39

          Michael was not married to Susan while Michael was in the military — Michael divorced his wife and later remarried. Under your “proposal”, Susan would not receive benefits because Michael did not “[stay] married to his wife”. You are attempting to impose your narrow and personal fantasy about life, marriage, love, and family on a veteran (Michael in our example).

          Susan is not “some random woman”, she is Michael’s spouse. Garon’s spouse is not “some random guy”, he is Garon’s spouse.

          Your contempt for anyone except yourself both clear and revolting.

          • It's about whether it is a bona fide marriage or not

            I don’t think veterans were expected to marry before their combat ends for their wife to get benefits, surely the expectation was that they would fight first as young men, then when they come home and become civilians maybe they’d marry, and I think that’s perfectly normal and we intended to support them and their families their whole lives. I don’t think we expected to support mulitple spouses, so the divorce is handled by a judge awarding the first wife some share of alimony and benefits and the next wife then getting the benefits. But as long as the marriage happens when the woman is young and fertile (under 40 is realistic, since it can’t be known for sure) then it is still a marriage that might produce kids and we should protect and provide for them just as if they had married at 20.

            • Disgusting

              I find the attitudes, presumptions, and prejudices of your comments here revolting and disgusting.

              I’m done.

            • Lousy greedy veterans

              Trying to get married and stuff to women who might not accept Jesus’ gift of more children and use our war money for supporting a family because judges know what love is!

              …or something like that…

              I tried to think like a conservative, but the concussion didn’t take.

              sabutai   @   Wed 14 Dec 10:17 PM
              • Way off

                We have no obligation to give life-long benefits to anyone, let alone someone who merely signed a piece of paper to reap someone else’s benefits. We can take them away from everyone, but we shouldn’t, we should only take them away from people who marry after they are able to have children.

    • Indeed

      Imagine the rush to marry your friend this would bring about. There would certainly be millions of people desperate to marry veteran friends just for a free burial. I’d bet this guy isn’t even gay – just another veteran trying to scam the system to get a subsidized funeral for his friend.

      “It was not my desire to go off and serve in Vietnam” – Romney, May 1994

      “I longed in many respects to actually be in Vietnam and be representing our country there.” – Romney, June 2007

      • The funeral isn't eve the half of it

        The life long survivor benefits come first, and THEN the funeral. That’s real money. Real money that there is absolutely no reason to fork over.

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