Richard Grenell, known as Ric, resigned from his post as Mitt Romney's foreign policy spokesman after being muzzled by the campaign.

According to The New York Times, Grenell was ordered by the campaign to lie low until a storm over his sexual orientation – Grenell is openly gay – blew over.

After organizing a media conference call to denounce President Obama on national security, Grenell was told by senior Romney aides to keep quiet during the call. The incident occurred on Thursday and Grenell announced he had separated from the campaign on Tuesday.

Grenell's hiring sparked an outcry from some Christian conservatives who chided Romney for placing an openly gay man in such a high-profile position.

Chief among his critics was Bryan Fischer of the Christian conservative American Family Association.

Fischer argued that the hire signaled support for gay rights from the Romney campaign.

He tore into Grenell's sexual orientation on his AFA-sponsored radio program, Focal Point, claiming that gay men are about “short-lived relationships and frequent anonymous sexual encounters,” though he added that he wasn't certain whether Grenell, who is in a 10 year relationship, “indulged in that.”

Later, Fischer called on Romney, a Mormon, to condemn gay sex if he wanted the evangelical vote.

“So, Mitt Romney's church teaches this conduct is considered sinful. … Governor Romney do you agree with the teachings of your church?”

“It's not that the campaign cared whether Ric Grenell was gay,” an unnamed Republican adviser told the paper. “They believed this was a nonissue. But they didn't want to confront the religious right.”

R. Clarke Cooper of the gay GOP group Log Cabin Republicans called the incident a misstep.

“If one wanted to look at how it could have been done differently, they could have gotten Ric off the bench and onto the field,” Cooper said. “There's been a lot going on this week on foreign policy, with Syria, Hillary Clinton in China, Obama in Afghanistan. There's a lot happening where Ric could have been present.”

Christopher Barron, a co-founder of the gay Republican group GOProud, added: “Clearly, the Romney campaign thought if they could put him in a box for a while it would go away. It is an unforced error on their part.”

“It doesn't bode well for the Romney campaign going forward if they couldn't stand up to the most outrageous attacks about him being gay,” Barron said.