Romney's gay spokesman quits after conservative backlash
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Richard Grenell, an openly gay man hired as national security spokesperson for Republican US presidential candidate Mitt Romney, has resigned following a social conservative backlash, the campaign team said Tuesday.
AFP - Republican Mitt Romney's openly gay spokesman on national security issues has resigned, the campaign said Tuesday, after his hiring led to a backlash from social conservatives.
Richard Grenell, who had worked in previous years in the US mission to the United Nations under Republican president George W. Bush, had been hired recently to tackle the foreign affairs portfolio for the all-but-certain Republican nominee Romney.
"While I welcomed the challenge to confront President (Barack) Obama's foreign policy failures... 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," Grenell said in a statement received by the Washington Post.
"I want to thank governor Romney for his belief in me and my abilities and his clear message to me that being openly gay was a non-issue for him and his team."
Grenell had been faced with a full frontal assault by some social conservatives opposed to homosexuality, including conservative activist Bryan Fischer, director of issues analysis for the American Family Association.
Fischer wrote on April 20 that Romney's choice of an openly gay spokesman sent a "message to the pro-family community: drop dead."
And in conservative magazine National Review, contributor Matthew Franck wrote last week about how Grenell's apparent obsession with gay marriage could damage the Romney campaign.
"Suppose Barack Obama comes out – as Grenell wishes he would – in favor of same-sex marriage in his acceptance speech at the Democratic National Convention. How fast and how publicly will Richard Grenell decamp from Romney to Obama?" Franck wrote.
The Romney camp issued a quick response to Grenell's departure.
"We are disappointed that Ric decided to resign from the campaign for his own personal reasons," Romney campaign manager Matt Rhoades said in a statement.
"We wanted him to stay because he had superior qualifications for the position he was hired to fill."
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