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.

Mother Jones reports: Romney

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."


  1. CD says

    I wouldn’t say they were the most gay friendly, but were the first to be gay friendly. A bit of a stretch to say they were the most.

  2. Hector says

    I’m really surprised that Mother Jones would be fooled by such an obvious republican operative outreach such as this. It’s a classic move to undermine minority opposition to their candidate, in this case from the gays.

  3. woodroad34d says

    I have to agree with @Hector. This sounds so much like a campaign “play”: ‘Don’t hate me (even though I support Chick Fil A) because see how nice I was THEN?”.

    “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″–just shows how far you can really trust Romney. Let’s see bullying, pet mistreatment, destroyer of the middle class, mildly anti-social, opportunist — he’s just a prettier version of New Gringrich and a touch nicer than Jeffrey Dahmer.

  4. paul says

    I used to be a decent person ? That’s a defense against bigotry ? ‘I once had an ounce of decency’ ?

  5. ratbastard says

    LOL….I don’t like Romney, but for Christ sake, give credit where credit is due. Romney’s not so secret big dark ‘conservative’ secret, and ‘progressives’ horror, is he’s a centralist. I know, I know, you shills have your talking points, but c’mon, the routine get’s tedious.

  6. GeorgeM says

    He’s no centralist, he’s happily on the right
    Yes give credit, it does mean something
    I’m just tired of republicans wanting monuments built for doing the Right thing.

  7. Gregoire says

    He’s a centrist in the disguise of an arch-conservative, Ratbastard. Isn’t that worse? He’s not even genuine in his backward views.

  8. Hector says

    I’m not saying the report is right or wrong, only that is it obvious where these positive stories are coming from all of a sudden. The very fact that there is a debate here about his merits is proof that it is working. Wise up and do not trust the media. They are bought and paid for.

  9. Tom in long beach says

    Not saying he is as bad, but during the 1936 Olympics in Berlin, the Nazis took down all of the anti Semitic signs, treated all athletes and guests fairly and nicely as a big PR show. Once the games were over it was back to “business as usual”.

  10. BobN says

    Mitt Romney is whatever he needs to be to get to be whatever he wants to be.

    Hardly a good reason for ANYONE to support him.

  11. Opinionated says

    I honestly don’t think that Mit Romney is anti LGBT and that on a personal level he doesn’t believe in going against our rights. The problem is of course his pandering to make it seem that he does and of course you get into the big Mit problem that you really don’t know where he stands. Don’t get me wrong the guy is a joke but I don’t see him pursuing a serious anti-gay agenda if elected. Course with a minority party controlling the GOP who knows what would happen but Romney seems like a inclusive guy in practice.

  12. Randy says

    Your headline may be right, the but article is wrong by omitting the words “one of the”. The world’s most gay-friendly Olympic games were surely in Vancouver.

  13. tell me what to say and I'll say it says

    Mitt just wants the White House because his father failed to get it.

    Way back as governor, when Mitt was liberal enough to fool Massachusetts once, he didn’t get a second term, did he?

    And, I doubt he would carry his home state today running for president. Political make-overs are hard to pull off.