|Mitt Romney via The Romney For President Campaign|
John Lauber, a soft-spoken new student one year behind Romney, was perpetually teased for his nonconformity and presumed homosexuality. Now he was walking around the all-boys school with bleached-blond hair that draped over one eye, and Romney wasn’t having it.
“He can’t look like that. That’s wrong. Just look at him!” an incensed Romney told Matthew Friedemann, his close friend in the Stevens Hall dorm, according to Friedemann’s recollection. Mitt, the teenaged son of Michigan Gov. George Romney, kept complaining about Lauber’s look, Friedemann recalled.
A few days later, Friedemann entered Stevens Hall off the school’s collegiate quad to find Romney marching out of his own room ahead of a prep school posse shouting about their plan to cut Lauber’s hair. Friedemann followed them to a nearby room where they came upon Lauber, tackled him and pinned him to the ground. As Lauber, his eyes filling with tears, screamed for help, Romney repeatedly clipped his hair with a pair of scissors. ~ The Washington Post
Romney claims to have no recollection of the physical altercation, or of bullying the student. However, the incident was recalled similarly by five of his classmates who gave their accounts independently of one another to the Post and all have similar recollections of what transpired. One of the students, recalling the victim being terrified, later apologized to him and said, “What a senseless, stupid, idiotic thing to do.”
The candidate called in to Fox host Brian Kilmeade's radio show Thursday morning to respond to the Post story telling Kilmeade;
"They talk about the fact that I played a lot of pranks in high school," Romney said. "And they describe some that you just say to yourself, back in high school I just did some dumb things and if anybody was hurt by that or offended by it, obviously I apologize."
“I participated in a lot of hijinks and pranks during high school and some might have gone too far and for that, I apologize. [...] I had no idea that this person might have been gay."
"I don’t remember that incident and I’ll tell you I certainly don’t believe that I, I can’t speak for other people of course, thought the fellow was homosexual. That was the furthest thing from my mind back in the 1960s, so that was not the case. But as to pranks that were played back then, I don’t remember them all, but again, high school days, if I did stupid things, why I’m afraid I got to say sorry for it.”
Judy Shepard, whose son Matthew was murdered in an anti-gay hate crime in 1998 said:
“While this may seem like an innocent prank to some, it was an act of torment against a child for being different. We expect the people we elect to be leaders in the charge against bullying so that all students are afforded the right to learn and grow in an environment free of fear. This incident calls into question whether Mitt Romney can be an advocate for the nation’s most vulnerable children.”
The president of the Human Rights Campaign, Joe Solmonese said;
“We cannot look past this incident now that Romney is the presumptive Republican nominee for president. Mitt Romney’s unwillingness to understand or acknowledge the gravity of his actions and sincerely apologize is a troubling suggestion of a lack of character.
With Mitt Romney’s anti-gay past exposed, it is clear why he has flip flopped on the issue of LGBT rights, becoming a vehemently anti-equality candidate in the race for the presidency. Yesterday as President Obama demonstrated clear leadership in expressing his support for marriage equality, Romney told a Denver news station: "If a civil union is identical to marriage other than in the name, I don't support that."
"Mitt Romney has come full-circle in his views on LGBT equality. He has gone from being a bully perpetuating violence on a classmate who was different from him, to a candidate who in 1994 said he would be better to the LGBT community than Ted Kennedy, to a candidate in 2012 whose views are in line with the most fringe anti-LGBT groups,” added Solmonese.