Mitt Romney on Gay Marriage
Governor Romney's views on marriage have changed since he first entered politics in 1994. He has gone from declaring himself as one of the strongest supporters of gay marriage in 1994 to declaring marriage as between one man and one woman and asserting that he would seek a federal marriage amendment.
1994 Senate Campaign
While seeking the US Senate seat in 1994, Mitt Romney wrote a letter to a gay rights group known as the Log Cabin Club claiming that he supported full equality for America's gay and lesbian citizens. He claimed that even though has opponent - Senator Ted Kennedy - was an ardent supporter of gay rights, he would be more effective in moving the issue into the main stream of American concern. He stated that he supported the Federal Employee Nondiscrimination Act and President Clinton's "don't ask, don't tell" policy.
While seeking the governor's seat for Massachusetts in 2002, Mitt Romney's campaign circulated a flier in a gay pride weekend asserting his support for equal rights for all Americans regardless of sexual orientation.
During his tenure in office, the Supreme Judicial Court (SJC) of Massachusetts issued a ruling claiming that denial of marriage to same sex couples was not legal. Governor Romney reacted to this ruling by asserting that he supported the establishment of civil unions to satisfy the court decision that this legal alternative be available. At this same time, Governor Romney asserted his view that marriage was a special union between one man and one woman.
The court rejected this compromise and gay marriage was made legal despite Governor Romneys objections and calls for a statewide vote. His critics called on him to issue an order forbidding the establish and cited state laws establishing marriage as between a man and a woman. Governor Romney stated that he would abide by "the law" established by the court ruling.
Beginning in 2005, Governor Romney appeared on numerous news outlets restating his opposition to gay marriage, and stating that he opposed civil unions that every child deserved a mother and a father. In debates and interviews, he stated that a hodgepodge of marriage rules in every state would not be a feasible situation. He supports a constitutional amendment to define gay marriage. He also noted that the US had a history of marriage as between one man and one woman in numerous aspect, including birth certificates noting the mother and father and not "parent A" and "parent B."
2008 Presidential Campaign
In a February 2007 interview, Governor Romney asserted that he had always viewed marriage as between one man and one woman. He also stated that he did not believe that the "don't ask, don't tell" measure should not be repealed, especially at a time of war. He argued against a state by state definition of marriage and stated that the right model for the nation and the right standard for the nation is marriage is between a man and a woman and a child deserves a mom and a dad.
2012 Presidential Campaign
In June of 2011, Governor Romney asserted that he had always defined marriage as between one man and one woman. He stated that he did not support gay marriage, he supported equal rights for gay people, such as workplace rules. In several debates, he stated that he supported a federal amendment to define marriage. His campaign website statement asserts that marriage was critical for the well-being of a civilization. He again noted his support for a federal amendment.
Letter to Log Cabin Club
While running for the US Senate against Senator Ted Kennedy in 1994, Mitt Romney wrote a letter to the Log Cabin Club of Massachusetts - a gay rights political group. In that letter, he states that he would be a better promoter of civil rights for gays than Senator Kennedy.
Gay Pride Flier
In 2002, while running for the Governor's office in Massachusetts, Mitt Romney's campaign circulated a flier at a gay pride festival stating that the Romney Healey campaign supported the gay pride weekend and that all citizens deserve equal rights.
The Goodrich Ruling
On November 18, 2003 Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts ruled that same-sex marriage is protected in the Massachusetts Constitution. This was known as the “Goodridge” ruling.
Governor Romney's Response
Governor Romney responded to the ruling with a statement implicitly recognizing SJC’s authority and noting the need for a constitutional amendment.
I agree with 3,000 years of recorded history. I disagree with the Supreme Judicial Court of Massachusetts. Marriage is an institution between a man and a woman. I will support an amendment to the Massachusetts Constitution to make that expressly clear. Of course, basic civil rights and appropriate benefits must be available to people in nontraditional relationships, but marriage is a special institution between a man and a woman, and our constitution and laws should reflect that.”
Stay of Execution
The ruling in question stated that "barring an individual from the protections, benefits and obligations of civil marriage solely because that person would marry a person of the same sex violates the Massachusetts Constitution." It stayed the order 180 days "to permit the Legislature to take such action as it may deem appropriate in light of this opinion." Many people, including Governor Romney, viewed this 180 day stay of execution as a chance to enact a civil union policy. Governor Romney moved forward with efforts to promote civil union policy, but those efforts failed to materialize into law.
Under that opinion, I believe that a civil union type provision would be sufficient. I believe their decision indicates that a provision which provided benefits, obligation, rights, and responsibilities, which are consistent with marriage but perhaps could be called by a different name, would be in conformity with their decision.
I expect that is what the supreme court was suggesting with the 180-day time period
Civil Unions Not Enough
In February of 2004, the SJC reacted to a proposition put forth by state legislatures in Massachusetts proposing civil unions for same-sex couples and marriage for traditional couples. The SJC stated:
The bill's absolute prohibition of the word `marriage' by `spouses' who are the same sex is more than semantic. The dissimilitude between the terms `civil marriage' and `civil union' is not innocuous; it is a considered choice of language that reflects a demonstrable assigning of same-sex, largely homosexual, couples to second-class status.
... For no rational reason the marriage laws of the Commonwealth discriminate against a defined class; no amount of tinkering with language will eradicate that stain.
... Barred access to the protections, benefits and obligations of civil marriage, a person who enters into an intimate, exclusive union with another of the same sex is arbitrarily deprived of membership in one of our community's most rewarding and cherished institutions.
Call for a Vote
When the SJC stated that it would not consider the use of civil unions as appropriate, Governor Romney called for a statewide vote to allow the people to decide.
We've heard from the court, but not from the people. The people of Massachusetts should not be excluded from a decision as fundamental to our society as the definition of marriage.
Gay Marriages Become Legal
When the stay of execution was over, the court ruling went into affect. Governor Romney stated that he would abide by the law for the state, and also enforce provisions that made it illegal for same-sex couples in another state to be married in Massachusetts. Critics stated that no law had gone into affect, and no vote was taken. They asked Governor Romney to stop the enactment of the ruling with an executive order, noting that original marriage laws defined it as between one man and one woman. Governor Romney stated the following:
All along, I have said an issue as fundamental to society as the definition of marriage should be decided by the people. Until then, I intend to follow the law and expect others to do the same.
Hugh Hewitt Appearance
On July 26, 2005, Governor Romney appeared on the Hugh Hewitt program and discussed gay marriage. He stated that every child in America has the right to a mother and a father.
In August of 2005, Governor Romney appeared onHardball with Chris Mathews and spoke about his opposition to gay marriage and civil unions.
Second Hardball Appearance
On April 12, 2006 Governor Romney appeared on Hardball and was asked again about his views on gay marriage, civil unions, and the role of the federal government.
Chris Mathews: You were quite a hit at that Memphis Republican get together, you amazed me at how tough you were on the marriage issue.
Governor Romney: Well, I made it real clear from the very beginning that I favor marriage between one man and a woman and I am not in favor of same-sex marriage, I am not in favor of civil unions, and there is no question that people who attend those events agree with me.
It's real clear that Americans, myself included believe that marriage is a relationship between a man and a woman, and not more than that, and also not same-sex couples. And that's something that I think is important to my party, and to both parties, and I think that the Democratic party, particularly in my state has made an error my adopting a platform that supports gay marriage.
ABC News Interview
In February of 2007, Governor Romney was interviewed by ABC News's George Stephanopoulis. When asked about gay marriage, Governor Romney indicated that he believed marriage was between one man and one woman. He also indicated that he supported keeping don't ask, don't tell in place.
John King Interview
In May of 2009, Governor Romney stated in an interview with Eric Cantor by John King for CNN. When asked about gay marriage, he stated that having different marriage provisions in various states would cause difficulty.
Piers Morgan Interview
On June 8, 2011 Governor Romney was interviewed by Piers Morgan for CNN. In that interview, he stated that he supported equal rights for homosexuals for laws such as employment and other protections, but he does not support gay marriage.
New Hampshire Debate
In the New Hampshire Presidential debate, Governor Romney stated that he would support a constitutional amendment to define marriage as between one man and one woman.
In August of 2011, Governor Romney participated in the Republican Presidential debate. He states that he supports a federal amendment defining marriage.
2012 Campaign Website Statements
The values that Mitt Romney learned in his home have enriched his life immeasurably. With his parents’ example before him, he married, had five sons, and now basks in the joy of eighteen grandchildren.
Marriage is more than a personally rewarding social custom. It is also critical for the well-being of a civilization. That is why it is so important to preserve traditional marriage – the joining together of one man and one woman. As president, Mitt will not only appoint an Attorney General who will defend the Defense of Marriage Act – a bipartisan law passed by Congress and signed by President Clinton – but he will also champion a Federal Marriage Amendment to the Constitution defining marriage as between one man and one woman.
 Website: ABC News Article: Mitt Romney: The Complete Interview Author: NA Accessed on: 06/10/2011
 Website: The Boston Globe Article: Civil union law sought Author: Frank Phillips and Raphael Lewis Accessed on: 06/18/2011
 Website: The New York Times Article: Gays Have Full Marriage Rights, Massachusetts Court Says Author: TERENCE NEILAN Accessed on: 06/18/2011
 Website: MassResistance Article: Timeline Documents Romney's Role in Creating Same-Sex "Marriages" Author: Amy Contrada Accessed on: 06/18/2011