Mitt Romney’s CPAC Speech: His Claims vs. the Truth

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The real record on:

  • His unconstitutional implementation of “gay marriage”
  • His failure to check judicial activism while simultaneously preaching against it
  • His weak argument for traditional marriage
  • His weak leadership in Massachusetts during the “gay marriage” crisis
  • His his record on abortion
  • His flip-flops on “emergency contraception” (morning-after pill) and Catholic Hospitals
  • RomneyCare, abortions, and mandated contraception coverage
  • His phony abstinence program in the schools
  • His phony defense of Catholic Charities in the homosexual adoptions scandal

People say that Mitt Romney is a flip-flopper. I think that’s very unjust. I think he’s been a very consistent politician. He consistently works both sides of the street on the same issue. He is consistently cynical and expedient and self-serving.
     – C. J. Doyle, President of Catholic Action League of Massachusetts, quoted in LifeSite News

Mitt Romney’s speech at CPAC (Conservative Political Action Conference, Feb. 10, 2012) was at best full of half-truths and misrepresentations. What a mistake he made, inviting scrutiny of his record on constitutional and social issues as Governor of Massachusetts.

Here’s what he said on his handling of these issues:

During my tenure, our conservative values also came under attack. Less than a year after I took office, the state’s supreme court inexplicably found a right to same-sex marriage in our constitution. I pushed for a stay of the decision, fought for a marriage amendment to our constitution, and successfully prohibited out-of-state couples from coming to our state to get married and then go home. On my watch, we fought hard and prevented Massachusetts from becoming the Las Vegas of gay marriage. When I am President, I will preserve the Defense of Marriage Act and I will fight for a federal amendment defining marriage as a relationship between one man and one woman.

During my time in office, I stood up to those who wanted to call into question the very definition of life. I vetoed a bill that would have opened the door to cloning and embryo farming. I vetoed a bill that would have allowed young girls to gain access to abortion-inducing drugs. I fought for abstinence education in our public schools. And I defended the Catholic Church’s right to serve their community in ways that were consistent with their conscience through adoption programs that placed children in a home with a mom and a dad.

Let’s take these claims one at a time.

ROMNEY CLAIMED: “The state’s supreme court inexplicably found a right to same-sex marriage in our constitution.”

The TRUTH: The Court did so find, but Governor Romney followed their lead and unconstitutionally implemented “gay marriage” without legislative authorization. He treated the “inexplicable” opinion as law.

Romney is right: The November 2003 finding was “inexplicable” because a “right to same-sex marriage” is not in the Constitution. The four judges simply invented it. So why did Governor Romney give it any credence? Why did he not just ignore this act of judicial overreach, rather than just complain later about “activist judges”?

It was also “inexplicable” because the Court had no authority to act on marriage (an area the state Constitution reserves to the Governor and Legislature), or overturn the existing man-woman marriage law (which even the Court said it was not doing). The Legislature never changed the law as the Court suggested it do (since it had no power to order another branch to act). The Massachusetts Constitution states clearly that only the Legislature can make or overturn a law. Governor Romney had no order (even an illegitimate one) from the Court, and no authorization from the Legislature, to enact “gay marriage” through his executive departments. Yet he did just that in early 2004 – to the shock of many.

Romney never once discussed the Constitution’s clear separation of powers during the crisis. But he repeatedly called the Court ruling “law” that he had to obey. That is “inexplicable”! Why did he enforce this illegitimate ruling the Court could not have enforced on its own?

Romney knew when running for Governor in 2002 that the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court would soon be issuing a pro-gay-marriage ruling. What did he have to say on the issue as a candidate? Plenty – at a meeting in agay bar with the homosexual Log Cabin Republicans. Romney:

… promised to obey the courts’ [sic] ultimate ruling and not champion a fight on either side of the issue. “I’ll keep my head low,” he said, making a bobbing motion with his head like a boxer, one participant recalled…. [Romney] promised the Log Cabin members that he would not champion a fight against same-sex marriage…. And, in the aftermath of the Massachusetts court decision, Mr. Romney, though aligning himself with the supporters of a constitutional amendment, did order town clerks to begin issuing marriage licenses to same-sex couples. Some members of Log Cabin Republicans say that in doing so, he ultimately fulfilled his promise to them despite his own moral objections.
– New York Times, September 8, 2007

Also just previous to his election, he opposed the only realistic chance Massachusetts had to pass a marriage amendment, because its wording would have outlawed civil unions (equivalent to marriage in all but name). He called the proposed amendment “too extreme,” though his wife, son and daughter-in-law had signed it. This sheds light on his pledged support for a federal marriage amendment. It would not be “too extreme” for Romney, because it would likely not ban civil unions.

What happened when the Massachusetts Court opinion was announced on November 18, 2003? He delivered this brief, tepid statement – which failed to make any argument for either constitutional government or traditional marriage:

I disagree with the Supreme Judicial Court. Marriage is an institution between a man and a woman. I will support an amendment to the Massachusetts Constitution to make that expressly clear. Of course, we must provide basic civil rights and appropriate benefits to nontraditional couples, but marriage is a special institution that should be reserved for a man and a woman.
– Press Release from Governor’s Office, Nov. 18, 2003

(See the video of his statement here.)

Romney’s statement calls for an amendment – though he had opposed one the previous year – but also for protectinggay rights! (His current campaign website distorts the record by omission, posting only the first part of his statement, leaving off the gay rights clause.)

He never expanded on the reasons for traditional marriage other than noting its long history and every child’s need for a mother and a father. (That is, except when the “parents” are “gay,” and then he thinks their adoptive “rights” should be acknowledged.) How can he be called a champion for marriage?

ROMNEY CLAIMED: “I pushed for a stay of the decision.”

The TRUTH:  He wrongly accepted the Court as the ultimate authority, instead of doing his duty to act as a check on the Court. He could have pushed even harder for a stay, but in any case it was hopeless given the Court’s demonstrated bias.

This is a telling comment. Romney is accepting the “decision” – the Court’s deciphering of a “penumbra” in the Constitution – as legitimate. This reveals his acquiescence to the Court, recognizing it as the supreme arbiter of the law with final authority over the other two branches, no matter how absurd their opinion. But that directly contradicts the Massachusetts Constitution’s separation of powers clauses (written by John Adams).

Yet, Romney now says the Court’s ruling was “inexplicable” – admitting the Court was acting irrationally and contrary to the Constitution. Why did he then think an irrational, out-of-bounds Court would pay any attention to his request for a stay (while the amendment process ran its course)? This is inexplicable.

Even if it made sense to “push for a stay,” he could have pushed harder according to Professor Hadley Arkes (National Review) and gone before the Court on his own. But Romney claimed that he needed support from the Attorney General or Legislature to approach the Court, and they refused him. Did he lack the courage for a confrontation? Or, did he really want to implement “gay marriage”? That’s what he proceeded to do.

Romney’s Chief Legal Counsel, Daniel Winslow, helped guide the way. Later, Winslow was thanked by the Massachusetts homosexual-transgender lobby for his support implementing the “gay marriage” ruling.

ROMNEY CLAIMED: He “fought for a marriage amendment to our constitution.”

The TRUTH:  Romney had opposed the only real chance for an amendment in 2002, and later attempts were poorly worded and doomed to failure. He offered little public support or leadership. The solution to judicial tyranny is to uphold the Constitutional separation of powers and work to remove the rogue judges. Romney failed to check the errant Court when he could.

At the peak of the “gay marriage” crisis (between November 2003 and May 2004), Romney redirected citizens’ attention to the hopeless effort to pass a federal marriage amendment, and to the equally unlikely effort to pass a state constitutional amendment. The only solution for preserving marriage, he said, was to “let the people vote.” He wanted to protect “democracy” … though he did not seem to care about the Constitution. Meanwhile, his Executive Office was busy behind the scenes implementing the marriage ruling.

He discounted the possibility of simply ignoring the illegitimate ruling, issuing a clarifying Executive Order that no same-sex marriages would occur, or supporting the grassroots effort to remove the errant judges. (He never explained what was wrong with any of those options.)

Romney’s misguided (or diversionary?) push for terribly flawed state marriage amendment proposals would go nowhere. (Recall that he had opposed the one good chance for a strong amendment in 2002.) The first Massachusetts “compromise amendment” he backed (2004-2005) was “designed to fail,” as it would have defined marriage as one man-one woman, but at the same time would have established totally equivalent “civil unions” for same-sex couples in the state Constitution. He lobbied Republican legislators to vote for it on its first legislative round, making the difference in its initial passage. (It was later voted down in the Legislature in late 2005.)

The second state amendment proposal he supported, VoteOnMarriage (2006-2007), was “too little, too late.” Homosexual activists around the country had plenty of time to ensure its defeat. In any case, it would not have banned civil unions or dismantled the earlier “gay marriages” that had taken place, ensuring later legal challenges. It went down to a humiliating defeat just months after Romney left office.

Romney made no bully-pulpit speeches in Massachusetts for traditional marriage. He held only one press conference in June 2005 (for the kickoff of the VoteOnMarriage effort), and went to only two rallies – one a nationally televised event sponsored by the Family Research Council (whose support he was courting as a Presidential candidate) in October 2006; and his own “Rally for Democracy” to push the Legislature to act on the VoteOnMarriage amendment in November 2006. But that latter event was really the kickoff for his Presidential campaign, as he stood Patton-like before an enormous American flag draping the State House just a month before his term ended.

Mitt Romney wasted no time talking up his presidential bid online, hitting conservative blogs yesterday with advertisements portraying him as Reagan-style Republican ready to take on “jihadists.”… Romney’s ads carry a photograph [from the rally] of his face with the American flag shown in the backdrop…  The ad has been posted on about 23 blogs so far, said Kevin Madden, a spokesman for the Romney committee. (Boston Herald, Jan. 5, 2007)

Romney also made a show of filing suit against the Legislature (in late 2006) to force their vote on the amendment. In their open letter (given out at CPAC), his “conservative” supporters make much of the fact that the Governor:

Filed suit before the Supreme Judicial Court asking the court to clarify the legislators’ duty to vote and failing that, to place the amendment on the 2008 ballot. That lawsuit, perhaps more than any other single action, was by all accounts instrumental in bringing the ultimate pressure on the legislators to vote. The SJC unanimously ruled that the Legislature must vote and the historic vote was taken on January 2, 2007 winning legislative support. This cleared a major hurdle in the three year effort to restore traditional marriage in the Commonwealth.

But it was Ed Pawlick who originally petitioned the SJC in 2002 for an opinion in that regard, after the Legislature refused to vote on the 2002 Massachusetts Citizens for Marriage amendment. (Romney had opposed that amendment as “too extreme” for its ban on civil unions.) The SJC agreed with Pawlick that the Legislature had an obligation to vote. Romney’s petition was thus unnecessary.

Note that Romney’s supporters fail to mention that the VoteOnMarriage effort met its final doom in June 2007 (six months after Romney left office) when it failed to get a mere 25% vote in the Legislature. Yet, his supporters portray this as a grand victory in the “effort to restore traditional marriage”! Romney assured the concerned citizens of Massachusetts in 2005 that he was “convinced it will pass.”

In neither of the two rallies Romney attended in late 2006 did he talk about the Constitutionality of the “gay marriage” ruling or its implementation, or make a strong argument for preserving marriage (other than “it’s for the children”).

At the federal level: Romney’s June 2004 testimony before the U.S. Senate for a federal marriage amendment was his only extended argument for traditional marriage. It opens with a lecture on tolerance and an indictment of traditionalists who disapprove of homosexuality, implying that they may be haters and bigots:

You have asked for my perspectives on the recent inauguration of same sex marriage in my state. This is a subject about which people have tender emotions in part because it touches individual lives. It also has been misused by some as a means to promote intolerance and prejudice. This is a time when we must fight hate and bigotry, when we must root out prejudice, when we must learn to accept people who are different from one another. Like me, the great majority of Americans wish both to preserve the traditional definition of marriage and to oppose bias and intolerance directed towards gays and lesbians.

Romney’s testimony was delivered about a month after his illegal “gay marriages” had begun in Massachusetts, due only to his unconstitutional executive department actions. But he places the blame on the Court’s “decision,” as if the “inauguration of same sex marriage” just magically began with no help from him.

Inexplicably, he points out that the Massachusetts Court was out of bounds: It “launched beyond our constitution.” He understands that the Court violated the original intent of the founders. He asks, “Should we abandon marriage as we know it and as it was known by the framers of our constitution?” (It is legally significant that the word “marriage” is included in the Massachusetts Constitution.) He notes that the separation of powers should prevent such power grabs by the Court. But that would only work if the Governor had not also acted beyond his authority, and he had done his duty to check the Court. Romney told the Senators:

The constitution’s framers recognized that any one of the three branches of government might overstep its separated powers. If Congress oversteps, the Court can intervene. If the Executive overreaches, Congress may impeach. And if the Court launches beyond the constitution, the legislative branch may amend.

The four Massachusetts justices launched beyond our constitution. That is why the Massachusetts legislature has begun the lengthy amendment process. [Emphasis added.]

Note that he neglects to say: If the Court overreaches, the Executive can refuse to enforce its opinion as if it were law. And judges can be impeached. Amending the Constitution is not the only solution, and certainly should not be the first resort.

Romney’s main argument for marriage is that children need a father and mother. He also briefly mentions that religious, charitable or “virtuous” institutions would be affected if marriage is challenged – the sentence featured in his recent press release. He makes no mention of sexual morality or the public health concerns related to aberrant homosexual practices. He even implies that if children were not involved, it might be all right for the judges to focus on just the “rights of adults” – including the “rights” of homosexuals:

Were generations that spanned thousands of years from all the civilizations of the world wrong about marriage? Are the philosophies and teachings of all the world’s major religions simply wrong?

Or is it more likely that four people among the seven that sat in a court in Massachusetts have erred? I believe that is the case. And I believe their error was the product of seeing only a part, and not the entirety. They viewed marriage as an institution principally designed for adults. Adults are who they saw. Adults stood before them in the courtroom. And so they thought of adult rights, equal rights for adults. If heterosexual adults can marry, then homosexual adults must also marry to have equal rights.

But marriage is not solely for adults. Marriage is also for children. In fact, marriage is principally for the nurturing and development of children. The children of America have the right to have a father and a mother.

So, Romney’s primary argument for preserving traditional marriage hinges on the proper family environment for raising children. But if this is so, how can he favor “domestic partnerships” and “civil unions” which also involve children in a home situation? How can he be fine with adoption by same-sex couples? How can he answer the homosexual activists’ challenge: What about infertile or older couples who can’t have children, and how are their marriages justified while same-sex couples’ would not be? He apparently cannot answer these questions.

Romney’s press release accompanying his CPAC speech proudly includes a quote from Maggie Gallagher (Institute for Marriage and Public Policy, and co-founder of National Organization for Marriage) on his 2004 U.S. Senate testimony. She said then that it was “the single most eloquent and articulate defense of our traditional understanding of marriage I have heard from an American politician.” Gallagher is pro-“tolerance” and agrees with Romney’s premise that there’s no inherent problem with homosexual unions, and that it’s primarily the involvement of children that creates an issue. But her praise of his testimony came just a month after she had criticized his actions implementing “gay marriage”:

Take a look at the new unisex marriage licenses that Gov. Romney has decided (without any authorization by the state legislature) to create. Gone is the language of bride and groom, husband and wife, replaced by the new, deeply moving announcement that “Party A” is going to join with “Party B” in something the court insists we call marriage.

[Note: Gallagher recently contacted MassResistance for information and clarification on the historical detail on Romney’s role in the constitutional crisis. (She was not on the scene in Massachusetts during the crisis.) Shortly after reading our detailed information, she endorsed Rick Santorum.]

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Curt served in the Marine Corps for four years and has been a law enforcement officer in Los Angeles for the last 24 years.

One Response to “Mitt Romney’s CPAC Speech: His Claims vs. the Truth”

  1. 1


    Romney has a lot in common with Kerry, and Obama. Romney like Kerry is a weathervane; flowing with the wind, empty, without any type of substance.
    Romney is like Obama in regards to refusing to take responsibility for his mistakes, or actions. He rather talks about something else, then to address his mess. Like Obama, he feels entitled, has no principles, and talks out of both sides of his mouth.
    He’s untrustworthy, a ‘jelly spined’ wannabe everything; he likes to use the ‘I’ almost as much as Obama.
    Romney is also not a ‘loyal’ individual; he’s a ruthless backstabber, a-la his actions in 2008 towards Sarah, or McCain – and this year, he’s even worse in slandering those running, and once again let others do his dirty work. He comes across as a ‘schmuck’, arrogant; he thinks it’s his turn even though after almost 6 yrs, the guy just doesn’t get the message that we have nothing in common. I guess that’s what happens when one has no shame.
    No matter how many times he attempts to ‘play’ a conservative, it falls flat every time; it’s almost to a point where he’s annoying, and just should fade out.

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