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Published: Thursday, 5/3/2012

Romney's silence


Richard Grenell's departure from Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney's campaign was a missed opportunity for Mr. Romney to speak against political intolerance toward gays and lesbians, when the focus should be on their job performance and accountability.

Mr. Grenell, who is openly gay, last month became Mr. Romney's spokesman on foreign policy and national security issues -- an important position. But after social conservatives attacked his appointment, Mr. Grenell stepped down this week.

Mr. Grenell's selection had been controversial because of disparaging remarks he had made about women on his Twitter account. When he resigned, the Romney campaign said it had tried to keep him from quitting. But other Republican officials said the campaign had taken Mr. Grenell out of the loop.

Mr. Grenell said Mr. Romney had sent him a "clear message ... that being openly gay was a nonissue for him and his team." But he added that "hyperpartisan discussion of personal issues" had robbed him of his effectiveness.

However clear the message Mr. Romney gave Mr. Grenell, he should have made it equally clear to voters. Mr. Grenell worked for four U.S. ambassadors to the United Nations during the presidency of George W. Bush. He was well qualified to do his campaign job. That's all that should have mattered.

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