Mitt Romney on Civil Rights
Former Republican Governor (MA); presidential nominee-apparent
We hold these truths to be self-evident, that all men are created equal, that they are endowed by their Creator with certain unalienable rights, that among these are, life, liberty, & the pursuit of happiness--
Then he dwelled on the ideas of life and liberty to argue for military funding; he focused on the word "Creator" to argue for religious freedom. And he emphasized the phrase "pursuit of happiness" to advocate caring for the needy, pursuing discovery and innovation, and toward a minimalist government that gets out of the way of individual choices about how to pursue dreams. What happened to equality? It was the Republican Mitt Romney, former Massachusetts governor, who glossed the most famous sentence of the Declaration.
As Governor of Massachusetts, I chose a woman Lt. Governor, a woman chief of staff, half of my cabinet and senior officials were women, and in business, I mentored and supported great women leaders who went on to run great companies.
About 250 women filled the pews of the Belmont chapel. Women began proposing changes that would include them more in the life of the church. In the end, the group came up with some 70 suggestions--from letting women speak after men in church to putting changing tables in men's bathrooms.
Romney was essentially willing to grant any request he couldn't see a reason to reject, Sievers said. "Pretty much, he said yes to everything that I would have said yes to, and I'm kind of a liberal Mormon," she said. A year later, right before Romney left the stake presidency, he was amazed at how many of the women's suggestions had been implemented. Many were small, procedural matters, but they added up to a significant concession.
A: Intelligence and surveillance have proven to be some of the most effective national security tools we have to protect our nation. Our most basic civil liberty is the right to be kept alive and the President should not hesitate to use every legal tool at his disposal to keep America safe.
A: All US citizens are entitled to due process, including at least some type of habeas corpus relief regardless whether they are designated unlawful enemy combatants or not.
A: Well, of course, we remind people that this is a nation that recognizes the equality of all individuals. We also want to make sure that our nation is kept safe. And we’re going to pursue any avenue we have to, to assure that people who might be preaching or teaching doctrines of hate or terror are going to be followed into a church or into a school or a mosque or wherever they might be.
“I agree with 3000 years of recorded history. I believe marriage is a sacred institution between a man and a woman and I have been rock solid in my support of traditional marriage. Marriage is first and foremost about nurturing and developing children. It’s unfortunate that those who choose to defend the institution of marriage are often demonized.”
We should acknowledge the Creator as did the Founders--in ceremony and word. He should remain on our currency, in our pledge, in the teaching of our history, and during the holiday season, nativity scenes and menorahs should be welcome in our public places. Our greatness would not long endure without judges who respect the foundation of faith upon which our constitution rests. I will take care to separate the affairs of government from any religion, but I will not separate us from ‘the God who gave us liberty.’
Nor would I separate us from our religious heritage. American values are not unique to any one denomination. They belong to the great moral inheritance we hold in common. They are the firm ground on which Americans of different faiths meet and stand as a nation, united.
A: Well, my kids are all married, so I'd be surprised. But I have grandchildren. And I love my children and I love my grandchildren. And I would, of course, want them to be happy. My view is this, that individuals should be able to pursue a relationship of love and respect, and raise a family as they would choose. I would like to have the term "marriage" continue to be associated with a relationship between one man and one woman. And that certainly doesn't prevent two people of the same gender living in a loving relationship together, having a domestic partnership, if you will. I can see rights, such as hospital visitation rights, and similar types of things, being provided to those individuals. But marriage for me continues to be a relationship between a man and a woman.
Romney did not support same-sex marriage, declaring in a 2002 questionnaire for "Bay Windows," New England's leading gay and lesbian newspaper, "I believe that marriage is a union between a man and a woman." He also said he opposed civil unions, believing they were too close to marriage. But at the same time, he was assuring gays and lesbians--publicly and privately--that he would not crusade against them. Plus he was voicing support for domestic partner benefits that sounded an awful lot like civil unions.
ROMNEY: I don't discriminate. And in the appointments that I made when I was governor of Massachusetts, a member of my Cabinet was gay. I appointed people to the bench, regardless of their sexual orientation, made it very clear that, in my view, we should not discriminate in hiring policies, in legal policies. At the same time, from the very beginning in 1994, I said to the gay community, "I do not favor same-sex marriage." But if people are looking for someone who will discriminate against gays, they won't find that in me.
Q: When's the last time you stoop up and spoke out for increasing gay rights?
ROMNEY: Right now.
The damage had been done. Romney's adamant denial and his subsequent dismissive treatment of some Mormon liberals provoked reactions that, in short order, led to the formation of the somewhat ad hoc, but passionately dogged, Mormon anti-Romney advocacy groups that badgered him relentlessly throughout the 1994 campaign.
The issue grew more intense, but Bush's rhetoric did not. Massachusetts governor Mitt Romney was forced into a battle with his legislature in an effort to overturn the decision.
To discourage resistance, gay marriage supporters decided those who disagreed with them had to be bigots. This made gay marriage the kind of issue most political candidates dread--not because they don't know where they stand, but because no one likes being branded a hater.
In a 1994 letter to the Log Cabin Republicans, who advocate gay rights, Romney said he was in favor of “gays and lesbians being able to serve openly and honestly” in the military. He now says it would be a mistake to interfere with the “don’t ask, don’t tell policy.”
A: At the state level. I think it makes sense for states to put in provision of this. I would not support at the federal level, and I changed in that regard because I think that policy makes more sense to be implemented at the state level. If you’re looking for someone who’s never changed any positions on any policies, then I’m not your guy. I learn from experience.
The status of marriage, if it’s allowed among the same sex individuals in one state is going to spread to the entire nation. And that’s why it’s important to have a national standard for marriage. And I’m committed to making sure that we reinforce the institution of marriage in this country by insisting that all states have a right to have marriage as defined as between a man and a woman; and we don’t have unelected judges saying we’re going to impose same-sex marriage where it was clearly not in their state constitution.
My state’s constitution was written by John Adams. It isn’t there. I’ve looked. The people need to speak on this issue and make sure that marriage is preserved as between a man and a woman.
ROMNEY: No, actually, when I first heard of the “Don’t ask, don’t tell” policy, I thought it sounded awfully silly. I didn’t think that would be very effective. And I turned out to be wrong. It’s been the policy now in the military for what, 10, 15 years, and it seems to be working. This is not the time to put in place a major change, a social experiment, in the middle of a war going on. I wouldn’t change it at this point. We can look at down the road. But it does seem to me that we have much bigger issues as a nation we ought to be talking about than that policy right now.
McCAIN: I think it would be a terrific mistake to even reopen the issue. The policy is working. And I am convinced that that’s the way we can maintain this greatest military. Let’s not tamper with them.
When legislators waited until after the 2006 elections to recess with the intent of killing a proposed amendment to the Massachusetts Constitution restoring traditional marriage--an amendment that had been backed by 170,000 signatures & years of lobbying--Romney refused to go quietly. He organized a rally of thousands outside the capitol, blasting the legislators for refusing to allow a vote: “Last week, 109 legislators decided to abandon the constitution and violate their oath of office. For the constitution plainly states that when a qualified petition is placed before them, the legislature SHALL vote.”
Romney’s ire was directed not at those legislators who would have voted against allowing the amendment to be on the ballot, but at the 109 lawmakers who refused to allow the vote on the ballot to be held
Marriage is a fundamental and universal social institution. It encompasses many obligations and benefits affecting husband and wife, father and mother, son and daughter. It is the foundation of a harmonious family life. It is the basic building block of society: the development, productivity and happiness of new generations are bound to the family unit. That benefits are given to married couples and not to singles or gay couples has nothing to do with discrimination; it has everything to do with building a stable new generation and nation.
“Given the decision of the Massachusetts Supreme Court, America faces questions regarding the institution of marriage. Should we abandon marriage as we know it?...
I join with those who support a federal constitutional amendment. Massachusetts has a law that attempts to restrain this infringement by restricting marriages of out-of-state couples to those where no impediment to marry exists in their home state. Even with this law, valid same-sex marriages will migrate to other states. For each state to preserve its own power in relation to marriage, a federal amendment to define marriage is necessary.“
Like the vast majority of Americans, I’ve opposed same-sex marriage, but I’ve also opposed unjust discrimination against anyone. The debate over same-sex marriage is not a debate over tolerance. It is a debate about the purpose of the institution of marriage and it is a debate about activist judges who make up the law rather than interpret the law.
I agree with 3,000 years of recorded history. I believe marriage is a sacred institution between a man and a woman and I have been rock solid in my support of traditional marriage. Marriage is first and foremost about nurturing and developing children. It’s unfortunate that those who choose to defend the institution of marriage are often demonized.
"State laws against bigamy, same-sex marriage, adult incest, prostitution, masturbation, adultery, fornication, bestiality, and obscenity [are now] called into question. The court has largely signed on to the homosexual agenda. The court has taken sides in the culture war."
Indeed, it had. Nevertheless, on May 17, 2004, Gov. Romney bowed to the order of the court and began handling out the marriage licenses, though he and the state legislature believed that nothing in the constitution of the commonwealth mandated gay marriages. Few better examples exist of how unelected judges have usurped the law-making power, and how elected officials have abdicated.
|Other candidates on Civil Rights:
|Mitt Romney on other issues:
Joe Kennedy III
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