A Romney campaign strategist reportedly clarified on Saturday that the GOP presidential nominee still supports a Federal Marriage Amendment even amid other apparent shifts in positions that are more centrist for the candidate.
According to Buzzfeed, Romney campaign Bay Buchanan issued the clarification after an article was published drawing attention to her remarks that the GOP candidate believes marriage is a Tenth Amendment issue and should be left to the states to decide.
“Governor Romney supports a federal marriage amendment to the Constitution that defines marriage as an institution between a man and a woman,” Buchanan was quoted as saying. “Governor Romney also believes, consistent with the 10th Amendment, that it should be left to states to decide whether to grant same-sex couples certain benefits, such as hospital visitation rights and the ability to adopt children. I referred to the Tenth Amendment only when speaking about these kinds of benefits – not marriage.”
An earlier version of the article published by Buzzfeed drew attention to remarks she gave to the The Advocate following the town hall debate between President Obama and Romney last week.
Buchanan reportedly said, “He very much supports traditional marriage, but he’s also a very strong advocate for the Tenth Amendment. It’s a state issue.”
The initial remarks led to speculation that the Romney campaign was backing away from support for a U.S. constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage, which he campaigned on during the primary. In addition to signing a pledge from the National Organization for Marriage promising to back the measure, Romney said he support a Federal Marriage Amendment during the primary debates because states shouldn’t have different rules with respect to marriage.
Movement away from that position would be in line with other seeming changes in positions that Romney has articulated in the weeks prior to Election Day, such as opposing tax cuts for the wealthy if they add to deficit or support the portion of health care reform prohibiting insurers from discriminating against people with pre-exisiting conditions. On Friday, President Obama criticized Romney for making such shifts, calling the change in positions symptoms of “Romnesia.”
Fred Sainz, vice president of communications for the Human Rights Campaign, said Buchanan’s clarification about Romney is “another great example of the the waffling that has dominated his political career.”
“It’s no doubt his real opinion but when push comes to shove and he understands that it could rattle his already fragile base, well, yes, he’s for the FMA,” Sainz said. “You just can’t trust what he’s for or against because it will change.”
R. Clarke Cooper, executive director of the National Log Cabin Republicans, sent out an email to media reporters, saying, “The truly conservative and federalist position is to respect these decisions by states. From the perspective of the 10th Amendment of the Constitution, the federal government should have no role in defining marriage beyond recognizing the work that states have done, which means no FMA, and no DOMA.”
With little more than a couple weeks remaining before Election Day, Log Cabin has yet to make an endorsement in the presidential race. In 2004, the organization declined to endorse former President George W. Bush largely because of his support for a Federal Marriage Amendment.
Asked by the Washington Blade what impact Buchanan’s clarification would have on the endorsement process, Cooper replied, “As to addressing this re-occuring question on endorsement, Gov. Romney’s position on marriage is not a surprise and is a factor that Log Cabin Republicans have taken into account all along.”
CORRECTION: An initial version of this article incorrectly stated Cooper’s first email was issued prior to Buchanan’s clarification. His email was sent out after the updated statement.