Mitt Romney
Mitt Romney was challenged about his position on same-sex marriages Monday. Image: Gage Skidmore/Flickr/CC BY-SA

On the campaign trail Monday, Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney met some head-on challenges from a Vietnam vet. The former Massachusetts governor was questioned about his stand on same-sex marriage in a Manchester, N.H., restaurant.

Campaign profiling

Romney probably regrets judging the potential voter on appearances alone. He sat down in a booth next to the man who was wearing a “Vietnam Vet” baseball cap. Yes, the man was a veteran, as his cap implied. But he also happened to be gay and legally married.

Bob Garon was seated with his same-sex spouse, Bob Lemire, at the Chez Vachon restaurant. Romney called out, “Vietnam veteran,” and sat with the two men, according to the Washington Post. Garon wasted no time questioning the candidate about rumors that the GOP candidate supports repealing the state law allowing gay marriage.

Romney supports repeal

Romney told Garon that he did support the repeal and that he believes marriage to be between a man and a woman. “We apparently disagree,” Romney conceded. To which Garon replied:

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

Romney defended his position by saying that our forefathers clearly meant a union between a man and woman when they mentioned marriage in the Constitution.

Medical and burial benefits

Garon also mentioned that if the law were repealed, his spouse would not be entitled to the burial and medical benefits guaranteed for the spouses of straight veterans.

One of Romney’s staff tried to move the candidate on for a Fox interview. Romney then told Garon that he had given him the “yes or no answer” he had asked for.

Garon thanked him for his answer, and then said:

“I also learned something, and New Hampshire is right. You have to look a man in the eye to get a good answer and you know what, governor, good luck.”

The veteran later told reporters that he had looked the candidate in the eye and felt he did not see a commander-in-chief looking back at him.

“Well, I was undecided but I am totally convinced today that he is not going to be my president,” Garon said. “Obama will at least entertain the idea. This man is ‘no way Jose.’ Well, take your ‘no way Jose’ back to Massachusetts.”

Served before DADT

Garon and his husband were married in June after being together for 15 years. His military service happened years before the Clinton administration enacted the military’s “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” policy in 1993. That policy was ended by an act of the Obama administration in September. Gays and lesbians are now free to serve openly in the U.S. military.

Sources

Reuters: http://blogs.reuters.com/talesfromthetrail/2011/12/12/gay-vietnam-vet-tackles-romney/
NPR: http://www.npr.org/blogs/itsallpolitics/2011/12/12/143591704/romney-confronted-by-gay-vietnam-vet-on-marriage-stance
Huffington Post: http://www.huffingtonpost.com/2011/12/12/mitt-romney-gay-marriage_n_1143460.html

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