Thursday, May 17, 2012

A Romney Says What?: Gay Rights Edition

I'm starting what I imagine will be a recurring theme, as I try to keep track of what exactly Mitt Romney believes on a given issue after the wildly divergent things he has said over his career in politics.

This time I'm curious about the difference between what I've heard from various news sources that Romney said about how he would be to the left of Ted Kennedy on gay rights back when he was running against Kennedy for Senator of Massachusetts, and what he said this weekend - as presumptive Republican Presidential Nominee - at a speech at Liberty University, which was founded by the late, very conservative Jerry Falwell.  

Side Note: the Liberty University sports mascot?  The Flames.  This is funny in so many ways.

Hee hee.

Okay, back to the main topic.

Here's Romney on gay rights in 1994, running for Senate against Ted Kennedy (it's the second topic in the video, the part on gay rights starts at 1:32 - the first one is abortion, and another time we can talk about the evolution of Romney from pro-choice to pro-personhood amendments):

As Massachusetts Governor in 2006, speaking in favor of an anti-gay marriage federal constitutional amendment at the anti-gay rights Family Research Council's "Liberty Sunday":

In 2007, running for President, speaking out in favor of Don't Ask Don't Tell (Romney starts at 2:05) - which was apparently different than his earlier position on DADT:

In 2011, speaking with Piers Morgan, (gay rights talk starts around 2:00 mark).  Morgan tries to tease out which gay rights Romney supports, and Romney makes it sound like he supports employment nondiscrimination, but he doesn't seem to support ENDA - which would provide federal protection from employment nondiscrimination based on sexual orientation.  Romney says he doesn't ask people their orientation, and has hired gay advisers and gay judges (whom he later found out were gay - what if he found out before, as happened the other day in Virginia?).  Also interesting that he uses the term "orientation."  Most people who are conservative on gay rights do not.

In 2011, speaking with a gay veteran, Romney says he supports DOMA and opposes military benefits for gay partners.

I find this last one the most interesting, because Romney has to actually respond to the guy on a few specifics, rather than just saying his "one man and one woman" line and then refusing to be any more specific on civil unions, and exactly which rights should be equal and which should not.

...So where does Romney stand on gay rights?

He seems to try to create a line that goes like this: I support equal rights but not gay marriage.  BUT, that's not actually where he seems to stand in reality, because being pro-DADT, anti-gay marriage, pro-DOMA, anti-civil unions ("if they are identical to marriage"), and anti-ENDA ("on the federal level" - which is where it would do the most to stop actual discrimination), is not being against discrimination in any meaningful, governmental way.

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