This week, Boston Spirit Magazine published excerpts from an in-depth interview with two plaintiffs in the landmark Goodridge v. Department of Public Health case, which opened the door for same-sex marriage in Massachusetts. The plaintiffs, Julie Goodridge and David Wilson, recall Mitt Romney’s remarks during a 2004 meeting in which they pleaded their case to Governor Romney, who had just endorsed a constitutional amendment to ban same-sex marriage:
Romney sat stone-faced and almost entirely silent. “Is there anything else?” Romney asked when they finished. With that, the meeting was over.
“It was like talking to a robot. No expression, no feeling,” recalls David Wilson, one of the plaintiffs in the case who met with Romney that day. “People were sharing touching stories, stories where you’d expect recognition in the other person’s face that they at least hear what you’re saying — that there’s empathy. He didn’t even shake his head. He was completely blank.”
Occasionally Romney would say something. “I didn’t know you had families,” remarked Romney to the group, according to Wilson.
The offhanded remark underscored that Romney, the governor of the first state prepared to grant same-sex marriage, hadn’t taken the time to look at what the landmark case was really about. By this point the plaintiff’s stories had been widely covered by national media — in particular, Julie Goodridge’s heartrending tale of how her then-partner, Hillary, was denied hospital visitation following the precarious birth of daughter Annie. It was the ignorance of these facts — and Romney’s inaccurate, insensitive answer to her parting question, that pushed Julie Goodridge to her breaking point.
“I looked him in the eye as we were leaving,” recalls Goodridge. “And I said, ‘Governor Romney, tell me — what would you suggest I say to my 8 year-old daughter about why her mommy and her ma can’t get married because you, the governor of her state, are going to block our marriage?’”
His response, according to Goodridge: “I don’t really care what you tell your adopted daughter. Why don’t you just tell her the same thing you’ve been telling her the last eight years.”
Boston Spirit Magazine also interviewed two officials who worked under Governor Romney’s administration, Ardith Wieworka and Katherine Abbott, who were asked to resign after marrying their female partners once same-sex marriage became legal in Massachusetts:
Wieworka has declined to comment to national press about her experience with the Romney administration. But she thought it was important to speak to Boston Spirit. Was she fired for being gay? For wedding her partner while her boss was actively trying to distance himself from any endorsement of the equal marriage movement? That’s hard to prove, Wieworka knows. But she feels it in her bones, and believes it to be so. And she’ll never forget what, upon her firing, she was told by the administration.
They said they wanted someone more “like them,” she says.