Gay Vietnam vet tackles Romney

December 12, 2011

Republican Mitt Romney probably didn’t know what hit him in a Manchester diner on Monday when he tucked into a booth to make small talk with an older man wearing a “Vietnam Vet” baseball cap.

Romney has been vocal in opposing cuts to U.S. military spending, and chatting up a veteran would seem like an easy warm-up to a day on the campaign trail.

But military spending wasn’t on the mind of Bob Garon, who served in the U.S. Army during the Vietnam War.

Garon is gay, and a newlywed. He was eating at the Chez Vachon diner, as he does most days, with his husband, Bob Lemire, 73. The couple — whom friends sometimes call ‘Bob One’ and ‘Bob Two’ — married in June after 15 years together.

Same sex marriage became legal in New Hampshire in 2010, but the state’s Republican-controlled legislature has moved toward repealing the law.

When Romney sat down next to Garon, the Epson resident asked him, “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?”

Romney reiterated his support for the Defense of Marriage Act. “And we apparently disagree,” he added.

“It’s good to know how you feel,” Garon said. “That you do not believe that everyone is entitled to their constitutional rights.”

After more sparring Romney was whisked away for a television interview, leaving Garon to hold court.

“We got married here, where it’s legal. Unless Mitt Romney gets elected,” Garon told reporters. “I don’t think his beliefs should dictate our Constitution. It’s not his choice, it’s my choice.”

“I went and fought for my country and I think my spouse should be entitled to the same [benefits] as they would if I were married to a woman,” he said. “What the hell is the difference?”

Garon told reporters he thought Romney would fail on his quest for the White House. “The guy ain’t going to make it,” Garon said of Romney. “You can’t trust him. I just saw it in his eyes.”

“At least Obama will entertain the idea [of gay marriage],” said Garon. “This man is ‘No way, Jose.’ Well, take that, ‘No way, Jose’ back to Massachusetts.”

Garon’s military service came decades before the 1993 “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” law, which prohibited military personnel from discriminating against or harassing closeted homosexual service members, but barred openly gay, lesbian or bisexual persons from military service. The law was ended by President Barack Obama in September 2011, allowing gays to serve openly in the U.S. military.

Photo credit: REUTERS/Brian Snyder – Mitt Romney (R) talks to Vietnam War veteran Bob Garon at Chez Vachon Restaurant in Manchester, New Hampshire December 12, 2011.


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Is “personal behavior” a guarantee of “constitutional rights?”

That is the heart of the matter.

Can you have legislation based on a person’s sexual behavior just because it has the label “gay?” (Which was originally a derogatory term -

Doesn’t this open the door for any other behaviors to be legislated and protected under our constitution?

Where does it end? Does it have an end?

Posted by HAL.9000 | Report as abusive

Mary Waterton is a disgrace to the US citizenry.

Posted by fb3360 | Report as abusive

He was obviously correct about the likely attitudes regarding homosexuality at the time the Constitution was written, regardless of changes in perceptions since. There’s obviously nothing explicit in the Constitution about sexuality, but if the Supreme Court limited its interpretations to those things explicitly mentioned in the Constitution, they would not consider much under it. Neither is homosexuality explicitly mentioned in the Bible, though it should be noted that fornication and adultery are mentioned, both of which are completely legal and presumably under the Constitution despite the fact that attitudes toward adultery and fornication in the late 18th century were probably similar to attitudes toward homosexuality. It’s a dumb issue that gathers support from so-called religious sects. It’s not great politics. Both sides have decent points, but it’s a matter of pure opinion.

Posted by adamt78 | Report as abusive

Legalizing gay marriage opens no new new doors nor gives any special protections other than extending basic marital rights to same sex couples.

If my wife for example became ill and was hospitalized, I have the right as her husband to stand by her side and act as proxy in her care and treatment if necessary.

In most states if Bob 1 gets sick, Bob 2 would have no such rights, and quite possibly as a non-family member wouldn’t even be allowed in to see his loved one.

My wife gave me that logic and it has turned me around on this issue.

Posted by CaptnCrunch | Report as abusive

@Mary Waterton is an outright bigot

And she probably considers herself a right and proper Christian.

Because Jesus clearly demonstrated that hate and fear are what God intended for us to feel against anyone we consider different from ourselves…especially those lepers.

God Bless America.

Posted by NobleKin | Report as abusive

Massachusetts legalized gay marriage back in 2004 – and we don’t want Romney back!

Posted by Laini529 | Report as abusive

While Romney and his Mormon “collective” have issues with gays, they sure don’t seem to mind corrupt polygamists. Funny how Mormons spent millions fighting gay marriage (Prop 9) yet they turn a blind-eye on tens of thousands of innocent polygamous women and children who are systemically abused behind their secret Zion Curtain. There are over 300 polygamous cults thriving in Mormon communities throughout the southwest, and the Mormon “collective” simply pretend like it isn’t happening. Game over if Obama tells Americans to watch the documentary film, “Banking On Heaven”. You can’t trust people who ignore pain and misery in their own backyard? The film shows how women suffer at the hands of brutal polygamists, how they’re forced to live on welfare so their children don’t starve, and how powerful Mormon legislatures, law enforcement, and millions of church members do NOTHING. I would NEVER vote for a Mormon.

Posted by YoYoFishing | Report as abusive

Obviously, Ms. Mary Waterton is ignorant not only to the bible and what religion really is but also to everyone’s constitutional rights. Ms. Mary Waterton is a disgrace to humanity and religion. YOU GO BOB!

Posted by Mspms100 | Report as abusive

“Neither is homosexuality explicitly mentioned in the Bible, though it should be noted that fornication and adultery are mentioned…”
Question: “What does the Bible say about homosexuality? Is homosexuality a sin?”

Answer: The Bible consistently tells us that homosexual activity is a sin (Genesis 19:1-13; Leviticus 18:22; 20:13; Romans 1:26-27; 1 Corinthians 6:9). Romans 1:26-27 teaches specifically that homosexuality is a result of denying and disobeying God. When people continue in sin and unbelief, God “gives them over” to even more wicked and depraved sin in order to show them the futility and hopelessness of life apart from God. 1 Corinthians 6:9 proclaims that homosexual “offenders” will not inherit the kingdom of God.

God does not create a person with homosexual desires. The Bible tells us that people become homosexuals because of sin (Romans 1:24-27) and ultimately because of their own choice. A person may be born with a greater susceptibility to homosexuality, just as some people are born with a tendency to violence and other sins. That does not excuse the person’s choosing to sin by giving in to sinful desires. If a person is born with a greater susceptibility to anger/rage, does that make it right for him to give into those desires? Of course not! The same is true with homosexuality.

However, the Bible does not describe homosexuality as a “greater” sin than any other. All sin is offensive to God. Homosexuality is just one of the many things listed in 1 Corinthians 6:9-10 that will keep a person from the kingdom of God. According to the Bible, God’s forgiveness is just as available to a homosexual as it is to an adulterer, idol worshipper, murderer, thief, etc. God also promises the strength for victory over sin, including homosexuality, to all those who will believe in Jesus Christ for their salvation (1 Corinthians 6:11; 2 Corinthians 5:17; Philippians 4:13).

Posted by HAL.9000 | Report as abusive

In today’s world, this anti-gay/lesbian military position is stupid, plain and simple. Stand-up if you believe that a homosexual/lesbian shouldn’t have the right to save you life. Stand up if you believe that you would commit suicide rather than have a homosexual/lesbian save your life. Stand up if you believe that you shouldn’t be given blood from a homosexual/lesbian. And while you’re standing up, stand up if you believe a pregnant woman should die from illness, or disease, or fatal physical condition rather receive an abortion that would save her life. Stand up if believe that America should not be the land of the free, and the home of the brave.

Posted by geesam47 | Report as abusive

“Ye shall not round the corners of your heads, neither shalt thou mar the corners of thy beard.”

Leviticus 19:27

Fun times ahead if the Bible ever becomes the basis of constitutional law.
I agree…it makes about as much sense as two men (or women) marrying each other.

Oh wait…

Anyway, these oddities concerning appearance written in the old testament where to physically distinguish the Israelites from neighboring nations…especially after coming out of Egypt where many Egyptian customs where adopted. It was basically a dress code.
Another distinguishing factor for example:circumcision. Remember the Bible is largely a historical account…not just a list of “dos and donts” as many people believe.

Posted by HAL.9000 | Report as abusive

Mary Waterton, you are a disgrace to humanity. Your views on homosexuality are totally irrelevant. This man was willing to put his life on the line for you and you’ve essentially just spat in his face. You should be ashamed of yourself.

Mr. Garon, if you read this, I’m very glad that you and your longtime partner were finally able to marry. I hope that someday homosexual couples everywhere will be able to enjoy the same rights as heterosexual ones. Thank you, sir, for your selfless service to this country.

Posted by wilsedw | Report as abusive

American political discourse has become so ridiculous I am done commenting on it.

Posted by GetpIaning | Report as abusive