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Mass. Gov. Romney on Record Supporting Same-Sex Marriage; Abortion Rights

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If there is one thing that Republican Governor Mitt Romney is known for by the American people, it has been his staunch opposition to same-sex marriage in his home state of Massachusetts. Even today when he has made himself a lame duck leader by announcing his pending retirement from the Governorship that is still almost two years away, Romney is fighting with everything he has to put down civil rights.

Massachusetts did not have a constitutional amendment barring same-sex marriage when the state landed in the national spotlight in the early days of 2004, with its State Supreme Court slamming the door on the proposed equality of civil-unions and marriage. The only option left was a constitutional convention that would change the states constitution in such a way to nullify the ruling.

The state system for passing amendments is quite different than the federal system, where the state legislature only need pass the amendment with 50 out of 200 votes, but must pass the same amendment during two consecutive sessions, only to have the issue placed on a ballot which then must be approved by the voters.

If any of these three steps fail, the amendment fails, which is precisely what has happened in the last two years. Though the legislature has taken up the amendment a number of times for consideration, various political maneuvering has put the issue to rest for this session, completely nullifying last years passage.

The issue cannot go before voters until 2009, assuming it is passed by the convent in 07 and 08.

A number of legislators have gone on the record saying that while they supported the amendment the first time around, after having time to think about the issue and see its non-effect on the state, they have begun to question their continued support.

"Gay marriage has begun, and life has not changed for the citizens of the commonwealth, with the exception of those who can now marry." - State Senator Brian Lees, former supporter of the amendment.

Romney had threated to repeatedly bring the legislature back into session unless the issue was voted on, which hardly brought him the kind of support he was looking for. The way the issue was tabled was done in such a way that it's effectively dead for the year, no matter what the Governor does.

Not content with this outcome, Romney has sued the state in court in an attempt to force them to vote on the issue, something constitutional experts have said is utterly absurd and has no chance of succeeding.

In a local news article released today, a writer for the Boston Globe recalls how Romney actually supported same-sex civil rights when he ran against Ted Kennedy for the Senate a number of years ago.

"He ran for office twice in Massachusetts as a moderate, pro choice Republican" it reads, "the governor is now asking the state's highest court to force a referendum on a proposed amendment defining marriage as between a man and a woman."
When he ran against Ted Kennedy for the Senate in 1994, Romney wrote a letter to the Massachusetts Log Cabin Club, pledging that as "we seek to establish full equality for American gay and lesbian citizens, I will provide more effective leadership than my opponent." During that same campaign, Romney was accused of once describing gay people as "perverse." In response, Romney's campaign vehemently denied that he used the word "perverse" and said that he respected "all people regardless of their race, creed, or sexual orientation."
Here we have what looks to be a hard-line neo-con that conservatives will love: gay hating, anti-abortion, family values more-conservative-than-McCain. Only he's on record as pro-choice and pro-civil rights.

Expect those on the right to feed on this when the real election race begins, and for Romney to continue fighting this issue all the way until he leaves office for the very last time, literally.
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The text of this article is Copyright © 2006,2007 Paul William Tenny. All rights reserved. This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Share Alike 3.0 United States License. Attribution by: full name and original URL. Comments are copyrighted by their authors and are not subject to the Creative Commons license of the article itself.