Then and now.
This flyer is from when Mitt Romney was running for governor of Massachusetts in 2002. It states, “All citizens deserve equal rights, regardless of their sexual preference” and wishes folks a great pride weekend.
As governor, he backed that statement up. From Joe Sudbay at AMERICA blog:
While running for governor in 2002, Romney and his running mate, Kerry Healey, distributed pink fliers at a Gay Pride parade, declaring “Mitt and Kerry wish you a great Pride weekend.” He backed domestic partner benefits for public employees, winning the endorsement of the national Log Cabin Republicans. In his inaugural speech, he promised to defend civil rights “regardless of gender, sexual orientation, or race.”
As governor, he appointed openly gay and lesbian people to high-profile administration positions. He doubled the budget line item for the Governor’s Commission on Gay and Lesbian Youth, until he tried to disband it last May — more political theater for the Republican right.
And now? Well, he’s changed his mind. The gays are no longer A-OK for Romney:
Former Massachusetts Gov. Mitt Romney has joined Minnesota Rep. Michele Bachmann and former Sen. Pennsylvania 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 front-runner, 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 support 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 a referendum on marriage in Washington and to establish a “presidential commission on religious liberty” aimed at protecting the rights of marriage foes to speak out.
Here’s the pledge, with Romney’s signature.
Civil rights for all Americans just aren’t politically expedient for today’s GOP. However, Romney has never been a huge supporter of marriage equality - only civil unions, and reluctantly so. From a (rather internally contradictory) 2004 press release:
Same sex marriage doesn’t hurt my marriage, or yours. But it may affect the development of children and thereby future society as a whole. Until we understand the implications for human development of a different definition of marriage, I believe we should preserve that which has endured over thousands of years.
Preserving the definition of marriage should not infringe on the right of individuals to live in the manner of their choosing… There is an unshakeable majority of opinion in this country that we should cherish and protect individual rights with tolerance and understanding.
But there is a difference between individual rights and marriage. An individual has rights, but a man and a woman together have a marriage. We should not deconstruct marriage simply to make a statement about the rights of individual adults. Forcing marriage to mean all things, will ultimately define marriage to mean nothing at all.
Some have asked why so much importance is attached to the word “marriage.” It is because changing the definition of marriage to include same sex unions will lead to further far-reaching changes that also would influence the development of our children. For example, school textbooks and classroom instruction may be required to assert absolute societal indifference between traditional marriage and same sex practice. It is inconceivable that promoting absolute indifference between heterosexual and homosexual unions would not significantly effect child development, family dynamics, and societal structures.
Among the structures that would be affected would be religious and certain charitable institutions. Those with scriptural or other immutable founding principles will be castigated. Ultimately, some may founder… Society can ill afford further erosion of charitable and virtuous institutions. For these reasons, I join with those who support a federal constitutional amendment.
Romney saw civil unions as the compromise of protecting marriage and individual rights; however, his latest signing of this pledge indicates his complete shift to the far right on this issue, and is nothing more than political pandering by a floundering candidate.