Gay Romney Supporter and Friend Were Likely Not Kicked Out Of Rally Because They Are Gay

Romney campaign says one of the two men is a known protester and was removed to prevent disruption.

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Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney speaks during a campaign stop at the Eastern Iowa Airport in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, on Oct. 24, 2012.

This post was updated 10/31/12 at 2:00 p.m. with comment from Adam Peters.

On Wednesday, a gay Romney supporter and friend wrote a post on Facebook saying they were kicked out of a Romney rally in Cedar Rapids, Iowa, for no apparent reason, though they suspected it was because they were gay.

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The Romney campaign, however, says one of the two Iowa City residents is a known protester and was removed from the rally so that he would not cause any disruptions.

Adam Peters, who wrote the post and is a self-described Independent voter, Obama supporter and gay man, says he went to the rally with his friend Chase Gunderson, a Romney supporter, without any intention to disrupt.

"Upon arriving to the site, we got in a line and were greeted with friendly smiles," he wrote on Facebook. "[But when] we began to head to the plane hangar where the event was taking place... two officers and one suited man... approached us and said with a smile, 'You need to leave.'"

Peters writes that Gunderson then told the police they must be mistaken, because he was a Romney supporter, and they both had tickets to the event. But the officers, writes Peters, told them they still had to go or face arrest.

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"Was it because we are gay or looked too flamboyant for your rally?" Peters asks on Facebook, posting a photo of himself and Gunderson looking confused. "It's not a surprise to me that you would treat someone this way... but it certainly came as a surprise to one of your ardent supporters. He now sees who you truly are. The guy who likes to take away rights and silence minorities."

On Twitter Sunday, Gunderson wrote: "I get it, I'm an idiot for being a gay Romney supporter."

Romney's views on gay marriage have changed over his political career, but the GOP nominee has said throughout this campaign that he opposes same-sex marriage.

The original Facebook post has now been shared nearly 2,000 times on the social network, spread across Twitter and been reported on by a number of blogs and news sites.

But Andrea Saul, a spokeswoman for the Romney campaign, says there is more going on here than meets the eye.

"We were informed by people on the ground that this gentleman was a known protester who has caused issues at previous events," Saul wrote in an E-mail to Whispers. "So [we] had him escorted off the premises to prevent any disruptions."

Whispers was not able to find any previous incidents in which Peters disrupted a political rally. And neither Peters nor Gunderson responded to request for comment.

But the Romney campaign has previously removed protesters from their rallies if they caused disruptions, and Peters' Twitter feed is filled with disdain for the Republican nominee.

Peters recently tweeted that Romney's wife Ann was among "things you don't tie to a roof of a car," a reference to an infamous incident with the Romney family dog.

After the second presidential debate, Peters wrote on Twitter that Romney "licked his wounds after losing to McCain. Ew. What other nasty things is Mitt into? #binders full of women." The same day, Peters tweeted that a Mormon god was not equivalent to the Christian one.

Update, 2:15 p.m.:

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  • Elizabeth Flock is a staff writer for U.S. News & World Report. You can follow her on Twitter or Facebook or reach her at eflock@usnews.com.