Pressured by Conservatives, Gay Romney Staffer Quits Campaign

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Mitt Romney hired Richard Grenell to work on foreign policy, not social issues, but Christian activists freaked out over his hiring in April because Grenell is gay. Well, Grenell has quit Romney's campaign, The Washington Post's Jennifer Rubin reported Tuesday. Rubin reports Grenell decided to quit "after being kept under wraps during a time when national security issues, including the president’s ad concerning Osama bin Laden, had emerged front and center in the campaign." Grenell told Rubin that his "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." But the discussion of personal issues was an intra-party fight, not one with Democrats or their supporters.

Calling Grenell's hiring a "milestone" for Republican presidential campaigns, The Atlantic's Molly Ball noted that it was mostly those on the fringe right who objected. Those included social conservatives like the American Family Associations's Bryan Fischer, Media Research Center's Dan Gainor, and The National Review's Matthew J. Franck, who were the angriest about Grenell's hire. "If personnel is policy, his message to the pro-family community: drop dead," Fischer wrote, and listed a series of demands so Romney could make it up to conservative Christians, like calling for Don't Ask Don't Tell to be reinstated. Frenck suggested that if President Obama came out in support of gay marriage, Grenell might switch sides. They might have been on the fringe, but the controversy was big enough for Romney's campaign to keep Grenell from speaking publicly for the campaign, Rubin reports.

It was only Grenell's departure that made the fight truly partisan. "This is the kind of bigoted, anti-gay extremists a Romney administration would find itself held hostage to," Obama Super PAC head Bill Burton tweeted.

This article is from the archive of our partner The Wire.