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BRIDGE BRIEFING: Romney And LGBT Issues

Romney Promised Not To Fight Against Same Sex Marriage But Did Anyway

In 2002, Romney Told Log Cabin Republicans He Would Not “Champion” A Fight Against The Massachusetts Ruling On Same Sex Marriage. According to the New York Times, “Mitt Romney seemed comfortable as a group of gay Republicans quizzed him over breakfast one morning in 2002. Running for governor of Massachusetts, he was at a gay bar in Boston to court members of Log Cabin Republicans. Mr. Romney explained to the group that his perspective on gay rights had been largely shaped by his experience in the private sector, where, he said, discrimination was frowned upon. When the discussion turned to a court case on same-sex marriage that was then wending its way through the state’s judicial system, he said he believed that marriage should be limited to the union of a man and a woman. But, according to several people present, he promised to obey the courts’ ultimate ruling and not champion a fight on either side of the issue. ‘I’ll keep my head low,’ he said, making a bobbing motion with his head like a boxer, one participant recalled.” [New York Times, 9/8/07]

  • Romney’s Deputy Political Director Confirmed Romney Promised Log Cabin Republicans He Would Not Champion A Fight Against Same Sex Marriage. According to the New York Times, “Calling Mr. Romney a flip-flopper on gay rights would be overly simplistic, Mr. Spampinato said. But he conceded that his old boss had promised the Log Cabin members that he would not champion a fight against same-sex marriage. ‘It’s definitely a shift in political priorities and strategy,’ he said.[New York Times, 9/8/07]

In 2003, Romney Sought Constitutional Amendment In Massachusetts Preserving Marriage Between A Man And A Woman. According to Voice of America News, “Mitt Romney, who in an interview with NBC television announced he would be seeking a state constitutional amendment that would effectively bar homosexuals from marrying one another… ‘I think the people of Massachusetts will take necessary corrective action to assure [sic] that the institution of marriage is preserved between a male and a female. Of course, at the same time, reaching out to gay couples, providing necessary civil rights and certain appropriate benefits. But marriage is an institution between a man and a woman.’” [Voice of America News, 12/18/03]

Romney Called The Legalization Of Same Sex Marriage In Massachusetts “A Blow To The Family.” According to the Boston Globe, “Speaking before an adoring audience of Utah Republicans last night, Governor Mitt Romney drew a link between America’s prestige around the world and the legalization of same-sex marriages in Massachusetts. ‘America cannot continue to lead the family of nations around the world if we suffer the collapse of the family here at home,’ Romney said, calling the Supreme Judicial Court’s legalization of same-sex marriage in Massachusetts ‘a blow to the family.’” [Boston Globe, 2/26/05]

Romney Filed A Lawsuit In 2006 When The Massachusetts Legislature Refused To Approve A Same Sex Marriage Referendum. According to Fox News, “Romney opposes gay marriage and wants the Massachusetts high court to let voters to decide state policy with a ballot question defining marriage as between a man and woman. Ten days ago state lawmakers refused to approve the referendum. Romney is suing.” Romney said, “I was struck by the irony and the hypocrisy, legislators so energized to protect the newly discovered right to marry for some citizens had no compunction whatsoever about trammeling the long-established constitutional right of the people to vote.” [FOX News, 11/20/06]

Romney Said He Would “Champion A Federal Marriage Amendment” As President. According to the Chicago Tribune, Romney stated, “As president. I will work with the people in this room, as I have for the past four years, to champion a federal marriage amendment to protect marriage as the union of a man and a woman.” [Chicago Tribune, 10/21/07]

Romney Signed National Organization For Marriage’s 2011 Pledge Opposing Same Sex Marriage. According to Politico, “Former Gov. Mitt Romney has joined Rep. Michele Bachmann and former Sen. Rick Santorum in signing a pledge to oppose same-sex marriage on a number of specific fronts. The three candidates signed the pledge advanced by the National Organization for Marriage, which has led national and state campaigns to limit marriage to a man and a woman. The signature of the frontrunner, Romney, is a bit of a coup for the group, as he’s been careful about committing to other pledges, including a broad promise to a socially conservative Iowa group that caused trouble for other candidates. Romney, Bachmann, and Santorum signed on to supporting a federal constitutional amendment defining marriage, to appoint federal judges who don’t see a Constitutional right to same-sex marriage, and to back the Defense of Marriage Act. They’ve also pledged to support offering a referendum on marriage in the District of Columbia, and to establish a ‘presidential commission on religious liberty’ aimed at protecting the rights of marriage foes to speak out.” [Politico, 8/4/11]

Romney Criticized Obama For Not Defending The Defense Of Marriage Act And “Aggressively” Paving The Way To Same Sex Marriage. According to On Top Magazine, “Romney criticized Obama on a number of issues critical to Christian conservatives during a conference call on Wednesday (January 25 2012) with Ralph Reed’s Faith and Freedom Coalition. […] On marriage, Romney reiterated his criticism of the president’s decision to no longer defend the Defense of Marriage Act (DOMA), the law that bars federal agencies from recognizing the legal marriages of gay and lesbian couples. ‘There’s been an assault on marriage. I think he is very aggressively trying to pave the path to same-sex marriage,’ Romney said. ‘I would, unlike this president, defend the Defense of Marriage Act. I would also propose once again an amendment to the constitution to define marriage as a relationship between a man and a woman.’” [On Top Magazine, 1/27/12]

Romney Claimed To Be Consistent On Issues Relating To Homosexuality But Has Not Been

Romney Said He Had Been Consistent On Issues Relating To Homosexuality.  While meeting with the Portsmouth Editorial Board, Romney said, “I find for instance the discussion on issues relating to, to homosexuality is one of those areas where I have been entirely consistent, but where people look to see if there is some change and there really isn’t. Uh, I’ve long said we should not discriminate against people based upon their sexual orientation in the workplace and uh in the, uh government assignments and so forth. On the other hand I’ve always said I am opposed to same sex marriage. That’s been my posture form the very beginning, continues to be my posture.  But I understand there are some others that try, for political reasons, try to change the, in order to distort those things.  My core you can see in my record as Governor, what I wrote in a book, and uh if there is ever any confusion, someone says gosh I don’t understand what you meant, as we began on the policy regarding global warming, I’m happy to elaborate to make sure people understand exactly where I am.” [Portsmouth Herald Editorial Board, 11/3/11; SeacoastOnline Video]

Romney Changed His Position On Gay Adoption

In 2012, Romney Said It Was Fine For Same Sex Couples To Adopt Children. According to ABC News, “Mitt Romney expressed support for gay adoption on Thursday, calling it ‘fine’ and noting that it’s legal in his home state of Massachusetts. But he again stressed his opposition to same-sex marriage and his preference for every child to have a mother and a father. […]On the marriage issue, he told Fox News’ Neil Cavuto, ‘…if two people of the same gender want to live together, want to have a loving relationship and even want to adopt a child, in my state individuals of the same sex were able to adopt children. In my view that’s something that people have the right to do, but to call that marriage is, in my view, a departure of the real meaning of that word.’” [ABC News, 5/10/12]

  • Romney Backed Away From His Support Of Same Sex Adoptions, Acknowledging That Gay Adoption Was Legal In Most States. According to the National Journal, “Republican presidential candidate Mitt Romney on Friday backed away from his support of adoptions by gay couples, saying that he simply ‘acknowledges’ the legality of such adoptions in many states. […]On Friday, he was asked, in an interview with CBS affiliate WBTV in Charlotte, N.C., how his opposition to gay marriage ‘squared’ with his support for gay adoptions. Romney told anchor Paul Cameron, ‘Well, actually I think all states but one allow gay adoption, so that’s a position which has been decided by most of the state legislatures, including the one in my state some time ago. So I simply acknowledge the fact that gay adoption is legal in all states but one.’” [National Journal, 5/11/12]

Romney Told An Audience In 2011 The Ideal Setting For Raising A Child Was “Two People Working Together And When One Is Male And One Is Female.” According to Advocate.com, “Being raised by a single mom — or two moms — is not the ‘ideal’ that society should encourage, Mitt Romney told an audience in New Hampshire this week. A woman at a town hall meeting in Hopkinton said she’d been raised by two women — her grandmother and her mother. And so she wanted to know why Romney, who says marriage is intended for one man and one woman to raise children together, sees her upbringing as inferior to his own. ‘I can say, look there are a lot of folks who get raised by one parent through divorce, through death or through a parent having a child out of wedlock,’ he answered in a CSPAN video of the event posted by ThinkProgress. ‘But in my view, a society recognizes that the ideal setting for raising a child is when you have the benefit of two people working together and when one is male and one is female.’” [Advocate.com, 10/11/11]

Romney Has Not Been Consistent On LGBT Discrimination

In 1994, Romney Supported Barney Frank’s Employee Non Discrimination Act And Efforts To End Other Types Of Discrimination.  According to the Boston Globe, “On whether he supported a federal bill to prevent anti-gay discrimination in employment, housing, public accommodation and credit: ‘I am not fully aware of that bill, so I would need to study that more fully. I am aware of the legislation that Barney Frank proposed [the Employment Non-Discrimination Act] and do support that and would vote in favor of that. I also philosophically support efforts to ban discrimination in housing. The particulars of the bill you’re speaking about I have not studied, so I shouldn’t state a position. Philosophically, I support efforts to remove discrimination from the workplace, from housing, from education and so forth.’” [Boston Globe, 12/8/06]

Romney No Longer Supported A Federal Non-Discrimination Act In 2006 Because It Unfairly Hurt Employers At The Hands Of Activist Judges. In an interview with National Review, Romney was asked, “And what about the 1994 letter to the Log Cabin Republicans where you indicated you would support the Federal Employment Non-Discrimination Act (ENDA) and seemed open to changing the ‘don’t ask, don’t tell’ policy in the military? Are those your positions today?” Romney responded, “No. I don’t see the need for new or special legislation. My experience over the past several years as governor has convinced me that ENDA would be an overly broad law that would open a litigation floodgate and unfairly penalize employers at the hands of activist judges.” [National Review, 12/14/06]

Romney Admittedly Changed His Position On Employee Nondiscrimination Act.  In an interview on Meet the Press with Tim Russert, Romney was asked, “You said that you would sponsor the Employment Nondiscrimination Act. Do you still support it?” Romney responded, “At the state level. I think it makes sense at the state level for states to put in provision of this.” Russert followed up, “Now, you said you would sponsor it at the federal level.” Romney responded, “I would not support at the federal level, and I changed in that regard because I think that policy makes more sense to be evaluated or to be implemented at the state level. And let me describe why.” Russert then asked, “So you did–you did change.” Romney responded, “Oh, Tim, if you’re looking for someone who’s never changed any positions on any policies, then I’m not your guy…I do learn from experience. If you want someone who doesn’t learn from experience, who stubbornly takes a, a position on, on a particular act and says, ‘Well, I’m never changing my view based on what I’ve learned,’ that, that doesn’t make sense to me.’” [Meet the Press, 12/16/07]

In 2011, Romney Believed In Not Discriminating Based Upon Sexual Orientation And Claimed To Have Had Greater Potential To Fight For Antidiscrimination Than Kennedy.  During the Fox News debate, Romney said, “Let me — let me go back and say that. I do not believe in discriminating against people based upon their sexual orientation.  There are some people that do. I had a member of my administration, my cabinet who was — who was gay. I didn’t ask justices that I was looking to appoint –rather, people who are applicants for jobs — what their sexual orientation was. I believe as a Republican, I had the potential to fight for antidiscrimination in a way that would be even better than Senator Kennedy, as a Democrat, was expected to do so.”   [Fox News Debate, 12/15/11]

Romney Wanted To Keep Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell In Place

Romney Wanted “Don’t Ask Don’t Tell” To Remain In Place Throughout Wartime. While appearing on “On the Record” Romney was asked about Don’t Ask Don’t Tell and responded, “Well, I said during my campaign and since that I don’t think wartime is the right time for changing major social policies. I think we should keep the current program in place until our conflict in Afghanistan and Iraq is complete. I’d rather just not be making that kind of an experiment at this point.” [On The Record, Fox News, 3/5/10]

Romney Said That “Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell” Should Have Been Kept In Place Until Conflict Was Over.” At the CNN Republican Debate, candidates were asked, “would you leave that policy in place or would you try to change it, go back to ‘don’t ask/don’t tell,’ or something else?” Romney responded, “Well, one, we ought to be talking about the economy and jobs. But given the fact you’re insistent, the — the answer is, I believe that ‘don’t ask/don’t tell’ should have been kept in place until conflict was over.” [CNN GOP Presidential Debate, 6/13/11 ]