(Editor's note: Reuters looked at the 2010 and 2011 tax returns released by Mitt Romney and found that he and his wife contributed $7 million in charity over those two years, much of it going to his Mormon Church. That represents more than 15% of the Romneys' income of $42.5 million for those years. The Mormon Church is notorious for its anti-gay stances, and helped pass Proposition 8 in California.)
WASHINGTON -- The tax returns for Mitt Romney's charitable foundation reveal that the GOP presidential hopeful has given at least $35,000 in recent years to groups actively working to halt the spread of LGBT equality and, in some cases, intentionally demonize LGBT people.
The revelation comes two weeks after Romney said in New Hampshire that he opposed discrimination against LGBT Americans. But according to CNN, Romney donated to the extremist group Massachusetts Family Institute, as well as the Becket Fund. The Massachusetts Family Institute received $10,000 from Romney in 2006, while the Beckett Fund received $25,000 in 2009. The donations came from the Tyler Charitable Foundation, set up and funded by the Romneys.
"This is just another example of Mitt Romney saying one thing while doing the complete opposite. It's crystal clear that while Governor Romney claims to oppose discrimination, he is beholden to groups who make it their mission to vilify LGBT people," Human Rights Campaign President Joe Solmonese said.
"Romney's financial support of extremist groups is indicative of a politician with rising national ambitions who knew he had
to cozy up to those on the far-right in order to secure his party's nomination."
The Massachusetts Family Institute has long been a vocal opponent of marriage equality, and believes sexual orientation is a choice that can be cured.
From their website: "Our compassion is for those struggling with same-sex attraction and we encourage the healing of individuals who wish to change their choice of lifestyle ..."
The group also is ruthless in its dedication to distorting programs intended to reduce bullying and make schools safer, more welcoming environments for all students. It says gay-straight alliances may violate the Constitution and parental rights, and says associated programming pushes a radical, pro-homosexual agenda. The organization has said HRC's Welcoming Schools initiative isn't actually about addressing and preventing dangerous bullying, but instead is aimed at teaching "children at the youngest ages about homosexual relationships and same-sex parenting."
Romney also gave a significant sum of money to the Becket Fund for Religious Liberty, which describes itself as a nonprofit, nonpartisan, interfaith group dedicated to protecting the expression of religious traditions. The group is vehemently anti-marriage equality, and has argued that allowing committed same-sex couples to marry would trigger a wave of litigation for religious organizations objecting to performing or recognizing such ceremonies in states across the nation. The organization also compared pro-equality demonstrations during the time when Proposition 8 was a hot-button issue in California to the actions of the terrorist organization Al-Qaeda.
Rachel Maddow discusses Mitt Romney's foundation funded ex-gay therapy group