What Is the Feud Between Mitt Romney and the Founder of GOProud?


Quick Answer

GOProud's co-founder, Jimmy LaSalvia, accuses Mitt Romney of being homophobic in his memoir titled "No Hope: Why I Left the GOP (And You Should Too)." LaSalvia's principle evidence centers on Romney's 2012 presidential campaign's refusal to engage with GOProud in any meaningful way, despite the organization's solid conservative credentials and willingness to endorse Romney without demanding any policy shift on gay marriage.

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LaSalvia voted in Romney's favor when GOProud considered who to endorse in the 2012 presidential race despite strongly disagreeing with the candidate's views on gay marriage. At that time, LaSalvia claims to have assumed that Romney's anti-gay rhetoric was intended to appease ultra-conservative voters during the primary season and would fade away once the general election began. Romney did not change his policy, however, ultimately standing against not only gay marriage but civil unions as well. This made him more anti-gay than other prominent Republicans such as Dick Cheney and George W. Bush. In LaSalvia's view, Romney's refusal to consider gay voters as being worth courting ultimately cost him a winnable election against incumbent Barack Obama.

GOProud was a prominent lobbyist group consisting of conservative gay individuals and their allies. The group was founded when its predecessor, the Log Cabin Republicans, failed to endorse then-President Bush in 2004 and only barely endorsed Senator John McCain in 2008. LaSalvia and a number of other leaders decided the group had become too liberal, founding GOProud in 2009 as a conservative response to the perceived leftward drift. The group was formally dissolved in 2014, when LaSalvia and other leaders declared independence from the Republican Party, which they saw as hopelessly bigoted and out of touch.

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