Romney: Opposed to Same-Sex Marriage As Governor, Changes Tune in Senate
The Senate plans to vote this week on the so-called Respect for Marriage Act, a bill to codify same-sex marriage and punish anyone who objects to it. Senate Majority Leader Chuck Schumer filed cloture, a motion to close debate, on Monday, and the Senate will vote on cloture on Wednesday. The motion is subject to the filibuster, so it requires 60 votes to pass. “I hope for the sake of tens of millions of Americans that at least 10 Republicans will vote with us,” said Schumer.
One Republican senator who is considering supporting the legislation is Senator Mitt Romney (R-Utah). “I’d like to get onto the bill,” he told The Hill. Romney hopes to attach a flimsy religious freedom amendment to the bill. “If that amendment is attached to the bill, I’ll vote for it.”
Romney sang a much different tune in 2006, when as governor of Massachusetts he joined a Family Research Council simulcast in Boston. Below is an excerpt of Romney’s remarks from a transcript of that event (emphasis added). These remarks begin where Romney resumed speaking after activists interrupted his address by pulling out a power cord. The truth faced as much opposition then as it does now:
Thank you. Thank you. Thank you. You know, I began a few minutes ago by saying that the authors of liberty recognized a divine creator who gave to each one of us certain inalienable rights. They affirmed that freedom of religion would be our base, and they proscribed the establishment of any one religion. But today there are some people who are trying to establish one religion: the religion of secularism. They not only reject traditional values, they reject the values of our founders and they cast aside the wisdom of the ages.
Their allies are activist judges and here in Massachusetts activist judges struck a blow to the foundation of civilization: the family. They ruled that our Constitution requires people of the same gender to marry. I believe their error occurred because they focused on adult rights. They said that if heterosexual adults can marry, then homosexual couples have to also be able to marry to have equal rights, but what they ignored is that marriage is not primarily about adults. Marriage is about the nurturing and the development of children. (Applause.) A child’s development is enhanced by the nurturing of both genders. Every child deserves a mother and a father. (Applause.)
Of course, the principal burden of this court’s ruling doesn’t fall on adults; it falls on children. We’re asked to change the state birth certificate: to prevent heterocentricity, mother and father would become Parent A and Parent B. An elementary school teacher reads to a second grader from a book titled “The King and the King” about a prince who marries a prince, and a second grader’s father is denied the right to have his child taken out of that classroom while the book is being read. Our state’s most difficult-to-place adopted children may no longer placed by Catholic Charities because they favor homes where there’s a mother and a father. The price of same-sex marriage is paid by the children. Our fight for marriage, then, should focus on the needs of children, not the rights of adults.
In fact, as Americans, I believe that we should show an outpouring of respect and tolerance for all people. I believe God loves all of his children, that no one is abhorred, that regardless of the difference and the different choices, we should show that same respect. (Applause.) As Americans, we must vigorously reject discrimination and bigotry. Massachusetts is on the frontline of marriage, but unless we adopt a federal amendment to protect marriage, what’s happening here will unquestionably enter every other state. This spreading, secular religion and its substitute values cannot be allowed to weaken the foundation of the family or the faith of our fathers ….
This was only 16 years ago. What has changed since then?
Governor Romney called same-sex marriage an “error,” “a blow to the foundation of civilization: the family,” a “substitute value” of a “spreading, secular religion.” He said it “cast aside the wisdom of the ages” and served to “weaken the foundation of the family or the faith of our fathers.” Senator Romney said, “I’d like to get on the bill.” Has Senator Romney himself cast aside the wisdom of the ages, or was that just so much flowery phrasing devoid of meaning?
Governor Romney warned, from his experience in Massachusetts, that the legalization of same-sex marriage would initiate a cascade of social policy changes, largely aimed at sexualizing children. There would be gender neutral language on birth certificates, homosexual propaganda in elementary school, a trampling of parental rights in education, a refusal to work with faith-based adoption services who refuse to place children with same-sex couples. Romney warned these disastrous consequences “will unquestionably enter every other state” without federal protections for marriage. Everything Governor Romney predicted has come true. Yet now Senator Romney aligns with the anti-family forces he once denounced, trusting that a small carveout for religious institutions would provide the necessary buffer from civilizational suicide.
The National Review’s John McCormack explained why the same-sex marriage bill’s religious freedom protections are inadequate. Its “language only applies to the ‘solemnization or celebration of a marriage’ and ‘nonprofit religious organizations,’” he said. Notably the protection does not extend “to the likes of Jack Phillips, the Christian baker in Colorado who was sued for conscientiously objecting to decorating a cake for a same-sex wedding.” McCormack concluded, “So it is simply not true to say that the bill protects religious liberty.”
Romney was on the record supporting natural marriage more recently than 2006. In 2011 during his presidential campaign, he said, “Marriage is more than a personally rewarding social custom. It’s also critical for the well-being of a civilization. That’s why is so important to preserve traditional marriage — the joining together of one man and one woman. And that’s why I will appoint an attorney general who will defend the bipartisan law passed by Congress and signed by Bill Clinton: The Defense of Marriage Act.” Even after President Obama’s reelection, in 2013, Romney said, “I believe that marriage is a relationship between a man and a woman, and that’s because I believe the ideal setting for raising a child is where there’s a mother and a father in the home. Other people have differing views and I respect that, whether that’s in my party or in the Democratic Party. But these are very personal matters. My hope is that when we discuss things of this nature, we show respect for people who have differing views.”
Senator Romney, what happened?
Joshua Arnold is a staff writer at The Washington Stand.