Romney loses gay veteran's vote

Dec. 12, 2011 at 3:52 PM
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MANCHESTER, N.H., Dec. 12 (UPI) -- A Vietnam veteran, after getting into a heated argument with Mitt Romney in New Hampshire Monday over same-sex marriage, said Romney is not getting his vote.

Romney, a former Massachusetts governor seeking the Republican presidential nomination, had just gotten an endorsement from Manchester Mayor Ted Gatsas when he sat down with diners finishing their breakfasts at the restaurant Chez Vachon. On the next seat was the veteran, Bob Garon, 63, of Epsom, N.H., The New York Times reported.

"I have a question for you," Garon said. "New Hampshire right now has some legislation kicking around about a repeal for the same-sex marriage. And all I need is a yes or a no. Do you support the repeal?"

New Hampshire is one of six states to have legalized same-sex marriage.

Saying he believed marriage was between a man a woman, Romney said he supported the repeal.

"OK," Garon said, "that means that if you're in the White House, you will not support any form of legislation that would change that so that servicemen would be entitled to benefits like a man and a woman? If two men get married, apparently a veteran's spouse would not be entitled to any burial benefits or medical benefits or anything that the serviceman has devoted his time and effort to his country, and you just don't support equality in terms of same-sex marriage?"

The exchange grew increasingly heated, the Times said, until a Romney aide cut his way through the crowd to pull Romney away for a Fox News interview.

"I guess the question was too hot!" Garon said as Romney began to leave.

"No, you said you had a yes or no answer. I gave you the answer," Romney said.

Garon, dressed in a Vietnam veteran hat and a red flannel shirt with a pack of cigarettes rolled in the sleeve, was married to another man in June, the Times said. He said Romney would not be getting his vote, though he had been undecided until Monday.

"He told me that I'm not entitled to constitutional rights," Garon said. "I think a man and a woman and a man and a man should be treated equal."

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