In Another Life

Mitt Romney Almost Marched In The 2002 Boston Gay Pride Parade

By now you know about the flyer from the 2002 Gay Pride Parade in Boston—the one Mitt Romney’s campaign has disavowed.

But we dug up a contemporaneous Boston Globe article that shows the GOP frontrunner may have been closer to actually marching in the parade than anyone thought, making his current claim that he did not pay for, oversee, or approve these posters, even less credible.

In “Pride (and Politics) On Parade,” published the day of the parade, Carol Beggy and Stephanie Stoughton write that a rep from the Romney campaign first reached out to the Pride committee and inquired about getting involved. The rep called again later, but no one at the Pride center picked up.

The Globe article, published June 8, 2002,  is only available via Lexis Nexis. Here it is in its entirety:

The organizers of Boston’s Pride parade and festival expect a good showing of gubernatorial candidates today. Democrats Robert Reich, Warren Tolman, Steve Grossman, and Thomas Birmingham plan to participate, as does the libertarian candidate, Carla Howell. Democrat Shannon O’Brien’s running mate, Chris Gabrieli, also signed on.

On Monday, many of the contenders, as well as green party candidate Jill Stein, attended the Boston Pride committee’s and greater Boston business council’s political forum. The only missing link has been the republican candidate, Mitt Romney.

Andre Davis, the committee’s operations director, says his office got a call from a Romney rep last month who inquired about registering the campaign in the gay Pride parade. But when Davis called Romney’s office, there was little interest.

This week, Davis said, the Romney people called to indicate they wanted to sign up. But Davis hasn’t heard since then. “I’m assuming they’re out,” he said. “No pun intended.”

Chris Ferguson, president of the Log Cabin Republicans of Massachusetts, positioned himself as the fall guy. He was in charge of getting parade info to the campaign but didn’t act soon enough. Romney already made vacation plans with his wife for today. “I take full responsibility for that,” said Ferguson, who added that the campaign was interested. “My only response to this is, whatever,” Davis said. The campaign now plans to have people on the sidelines carrying signs and handing out statements about Romney’s support of equal rights for gays.

But for a missed phone call or a forgotten e-mail, Mitt “I’ll Be Better For The Gays Than Ted Kennedy” Romney would probably have marched in a gay Pride parade. (By the way, Mr. Andre “Whatever” Davis was unceremoniously fired from the Pride committee in 2005.)

But the question remains: Would a photo of Mitt glad-handing gays along Tremont Avenue Street have been the silver bullet that killed his campaign? Or would he have had to own up to and embrace his more moderate stance on LGBT rights—and maybe drag the Republican party with him?


Parade photo: Hello Boston