Effort begins in Massachusetts Legislature after Gov. Romney considers abolishing existing youth panel
BOSTON More than a dozen Senate lawmakers, including three Republicans, are backing a proposed budget amendment that would create a new state commission on gay and lesbian youth out of the reach of Gov. Mitt Romney.
Romney angered many gay rights activists and lawmakers when he flirted with the idea earlier this month of abolishing the 14-year-old commission, the first of its kind in the nation, after a press release announcing a youth gay pride march was issued without the administration’s blessing.
Instead of killing the commission Romney ordered it to refocus on its core mission of suicide prevention.
Romney’s decision to keep the commission drew fire from its critics, who charged he had caved in to pressure from gay rights activists.
A spokesman for Romney declined comment Monday.
The senate amendment would create a 27-member commission, none of whom would be directly appointed by the governor.
One of the main goals of the commission would be to create “school-based and community-based programs focusing on suicide prevention, violence intervention, and the promotion of zero-tolerance policies regarding harassment and discrimination against gay and lesbian youth.”
Because the Governor’s Commission on Gay and Lesbian Youth was first created by former Gov. William Weld through an executive order, it could only be dismantled by a new executive order issued by Romney.
This article appeared in the Dallas Voice print edition, May 26, 2006.