Mitt Romney returned from a three-week spring break in 1965 to resume his studies as a high school senior at the prestigious Cranbrook School. Back on the handsome campus, studded with Tudor brick buildings and manicured fields, he spotted something he thought did not belong at a school where the boys wore ties and carried briefcases. 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.
That’s an assault on someone whose only crime was being gay. Then this:
In an English class, Gary Hummel, who was a closeted gay student at the time, recalled that his efforts to speak out in class were punctuated with Romney shouting, “Atta girl!” In the culture of that time and place, that was not entirely out of the norm. Hummel recalled some teachers using similar language.
Romney says he has no memory of this incident, although five others have not just memories but vivid, guilt-ridden recollections. As for the victim, he did not forget. How could he? Years and years later, one of the bullies Romney rounded up bumped into his victim at an airport and felt the need to apologize:
“I’m sorry that I didn’t do more to help in the situation,” he said.
Lauber paused, then responded, “It was horrible.” He went on to explain how frightened he was during the incident, and acknowledged to Seed, “It’s something I have thought about a lot since then.”
Lauber died in 2004, according to his three sisters.
Yesterday was a day for all those who didn’t live to see it. Including Romney’s young victim.
See… I don’t know if people 48 years after an incident are the same, but I am fascinated by Romney supporting the “historical” 3,000 years of history of one-man-one-woman marriage.
Perhaps he has forgotten that his own family were ardent polygamists only a century ago – and went to Mexican colonies to escape US federal oppression of their version of marriage.
Anyway, as a politician who recently rid his campaign of an openly gay associate to please his Party, Romney seems not to have quite changed his feelings. Or is this just more “hijinks and pranks?”