Mitt Romney Threw One of the Most Gay-Friendly Olympics in History
Stephanie Mencimer at Mother Jones chronicles the changes Mitt Romney's team made to the Olympic Games bin terms of diversity, opening the Games to LGBT organizations for the first time and being "very, very supportive of the diversity of the workforce."
Apparently, LGBT groups were not at first included at all, and assumed they didn't have a chance given Romney's Mormon background, but were surprised.
The LGBT group wanted three things from the Olympic organizers: They wanted a representative on the diversity committee; they wanted the SLOC to do workforce recruiting directly within the LGBT community; and they wanted access to foreign LGBT athletes and their families so that they could offer housing and other services to them during the games.
Eynon agreed to everything. "They were shocked," he says.
The SLOC appointed two representatives to serve on the volunteer recruiting committee. One person—Marriott—was tapped to represent gays. Salt Lake attorney Laura Miliken Gray was selected to represent the lesbians. Eynon also connected them with the director of international athlete services so they could reach out to LGBT athletes in other countries. In addition, SLOC set up volunteer recruiting booths at the Utah Pride festival and the Utah Gay Rodeo. It held job fairs at the Gay and Lesbian Community Center. It even recruited volunteers in gay bars to make sure that the LGBT community was represented at the Games.
A decade later, Gray still has her blue Olympic volunteer parka—the very same coat that Romney is pictured sporting on the cover of his 2004 book, and she credits Romney for the extensive LGBT involvement during the Salt Lake Olympics. "My impression during the Games was that he was a fair minded and inclusive person," she says. "That's what was portrayed to us, and that's what occurred under his command."
The article acknowledges, "The Mitt Romney who put on the world's most gay-friendly Olympic games is a far cry from the candidate running for president in 2012."