Romney’s Openly Gay Former Foreign-Policy Spokesman Says Obama on ‘Right Side of History’ With Equality Stand

Richard Grenell, a spokesman for the U.S. Mission to the United Nations, briefs the media prior to a UN Security Council Consultation on the situation in Lebanon, Friday, August 4, 2006.
Grenell. Photo: Stephen Hilger/Bloomberg via Getty Images

Everyone including Kim Kardashian has voiced an opinion on President Obama's momentous declaration that he supports same-sex marriage. Few endorsers or critics offer such a unique perspective as Richard Grenell. Grenell was Mitt Romney's — yes, openly gay — foreign-policy spokesman for a short while, a hire viewed as a significant step for the gay-rights movement in itself. But the marriage was short-lived. Grenell was reportedly hounded by anti-gay conservatives and stepped down last week amid the delirium, writing, "My ability to speak clearly and forcefully on the issues has been greatly diminished by the hyper-partisan discussion of personal issues that sometimes comes from a presidential campaign." Romney later called Grenell a "capable individual" and said many senior campaign aides urged him to remain with the campaign.

Metro Weekly obtained a statement from Grenell regarding Obama's "evolution" on marriage equality. While Grenell praised Obama, he also underscored the political motivation behind the president's announcement:

President Obama's decision to personally support gay marriage means he will be on the right side of history. He deserves credit for finally taking a stand in favor of equality. Nevertheless, it's important to keep politicians from playing politics with a group's civil rights. Democrats and Republicans continue to calculate the political implications of their positions, and the timing of the president's announcement suggests his position is a political move too. While the president could have evolved when the Democrats controlled the House and the Senate or even yesterday before the swing state of North Carolina voted on the issue, Republicans should also remember that young people and many Christians believe in civil equality.