Whether Mitt Romney's record on gay
rights in consistent depends on who you ask.
Romney, who served as governor of
Massachusetts when the state's highest court legalized gay marriage,
found himself in an awkward situation on Monday in New Hampshire when
he told a 63-year-old Vietnam veteran that he did not support
marriage equality. The
gay vet chided Romney for not supporting equality.
But back during his 1994 campaign to
unseat Democratic Senator Ted Kennedy, Romney promised a gay GOP
group that he would do more for “full equality” for gay men and
lesbians than his opponent.
Romney has denied any inconsistency,
saying that back then gay rights advocates were not calling for
“What happened was that the gay
community changed their perspective as to what they wanted,” Romney
told Piers Morgan on his CNN talk show Piers Morgan Tonight.
“I oppose same-sex marriage,” he
said. “At the same time, I would advance the efforts not to
discriminate against people who are gay.”
Ned Flaherty of Marriage Equality USA
NPR on Monday that Romney's position “makes no sense.”
“You cannot in the same breath say
that you support non-discrimination against LGBT people and that you
support DOMA,” Flaherty said.
“Someone who says that either doesn't
know what they're talking about, or they know full well what they're
talking about and hope you don't know what they're talking about,”
Romney has also been criticized on
“Don't Ask, Don't Tell.”
He called the policy a first step
toward letting gay troops “serve openly and honesty” in 1994, but
by 2007 he was firmly against repeal.
“When I first heard of 'Don't Ask,
Don't Tell' policy, I thought it sounded awful silly and didn't think
that'd be very effective, and I turned out to be wrong,” he said
during a GOP debate on CNN. “It seems to be working. This is not
the time to put in major change, a social experiment, in the middle
of a war going on.”
Last week, Romney told the Des
Moines Register's editorial board that as president he
would not work to reinstate the policy.
“That's already occurred,” he said,
“and I'm not planning on reversing that at this stage.”
Gay rights foes, however, insist Romney
has never wavered.
“Gov. Romney was a champion on the
battle for marriage in Massachusetts,” Kris Mineau, the head of the
Massachusetts Family Institute, told NPR. “I think he's getting a
bum rap. Nothing has changed. And I believe that he has been solid
right from the start, and he will remain solid.”
Maggie Gallagher of the National
Organization for Marriage (NOM) has praised Romney as a “marriage
champion” for signing her group's 5-point pledge to work against
“These are candidates who [are]
willing to go beyond saying they support one man, one woman marriage
– which even President Obama claims he supports – and commit to
some concrete actions to protect marriage, if they are the leader of
the free world and the president of the United States,” Gallagher
said during a Christian Broadcasting Network (CBN) segment.