February 16, 2014 | by Chris Johnson
Romney needs time to determine impact of marriage equality
Mitt Romney said on "Meet the Press" it could take "generations" to determine the impact of marriage equality. (Screenshot via NBC News).

Mitt Romney said on “Meet the Press” it could take “generations” to determine the impact of marriage equality. (Screenshot via NBC News).

Former Republican presidential nominee Mitt Romney reiterated his opposition to marriage equality on Sunday, saying it will “take a long, long time” to determine whether the advancement of same-sex marriage will have an impact the way children are raised.

Romney, who lost the election to President Obama in 2012, when asked by host David Gregory on NBC’s “Meet the Press” in an appearance to discuss the 2014 Winter Olympics whether the legalization of same-sex marriage throughout the country has had a negative impact on society.

Gregory pointed to a 2004 op-ed that Romney wrote for the Wall Street Journal in opposition to same-sex marriage, titled, “A Citizen’s Guide to Protecting Marriage.” Romney wrote it nearly ten years ago while governor of Massachusetts after the State Supreme Court legalized marriage equality, making the Bay State the first in the country to afford marriage rights to gay couples.

At first, Romney dodged in his response to Gregory’s question on whether he has found negative impact of same-sex marriage since that time, reiterating his previously stated talking points that he believes marriage should be limited to one man, one woman.

“Well, I think marriage is a relationship between a man and a woman, and I think the ideal setting for raising a child is in a setting where there’s a father and a mother,” Romney said. “Now there are many other different settings that children are raised in, and people have the right to live their life as they want to, but I think marriage should be defined in the way that it has been defined for several thousand years, and if gay couples want to live together, why that’s fine as well. That’s their right.”

But when Gregory pressed Romney to evaluate whether marriage equality has had a negative impact, the former Massachusetts governor said it’s too soon to tell and it may take “generations” before the consequences are known.

“I think it’s going to take a long, long time to determine whether having a gay marriage make it less likely for kids to be raised in settings where there’s a mom and a dad,” Romney said. “That’s not going to happen overnight. It’s something which happens over generations, in fact. Again, I think the ideal setting is whether there’s a mom and a dad that can invest their time and their resources in supporting the development of a child.”

Despite Ronmey’s concerns, major psychological and family groups have disputed the notion that gay parents aren’t as fit as straight parents in raising children. Last year, the American Academy of Pediatrics came out in support of same-sex marriage.

Romney also refused under further questioning to characterize the issue of same-sex marriage as an Republicans have lost, saying it’s playing out across the country.

“I think, in this case, it continues to be an issue that people find relevant and important, and it’s something which is being considered in various states across the country,” Romney said.

Following numerous court rulings in favor of marriage equality and expectations the issue once again reach the U.S. Supreme Court, the former Republican presidential contender added he believes the issue of marriage equality should be decided by the people, not judges.

“I do believe, by the way, that it’s best decided by the people, rather than by the courts,” Romney said. “I think when the courts step in and make a decision of this nature, they’re removing from the people something which they have the right to decide themselves.”

In 2012, Romney campaigned not only in opposition to same-sex marriage, but signed a pledge with the anti-gay National Organization for Marriage to support a U.S. constitutional amendment that would ban gay nuptials throughout the country and defend the Defense of Marriage Act in court.

David Gregory: Lemme talk to you about politics, and of course, the issue of gay rights around the world, particularly in Russia, has been part of the backdrop of these games, and you think about the issue of same-sex marriage in America. Ten years ago, almost to the month, it was Massachusetts when you were governor that really set same-sex marriage rights into motion.

You wrote about it at the time rather pointedly, where you said, after that decision by the court, “The definition of marriage is not a matter of semantics. It will have lasting impact on society.” Ten years later, as you’ve seen same-sex marriage now in 17 states and the District of Columbia, has it had a negative impact on society in your judgement?

Mitt Romney: Well, I think marriage is a relationship between a man and a woman, and I think the ideal setting for raising a child is in a setting where there’s a father and a mother. Now there are many other different settings that children are raised in, and people have the right to live their life as they want to, but I think marriage should be defined in the way that it has been defined for several thousand years, and if gay couples want to live together, why that’s fine as well. That’s their right.

Gregory: But lemme just follow up, do you think it’s actually had a negative impact on society that you have so many states now recognizing it?

Romney: Oh, I think it’s going to take a long, long time to determine whether having a gay marriage make it less likely for kids to be raised in settings where there’s a mom and a dad. That’s not going to happen overnight. It’s something which happens over generations, in fact. Again, I think the ideal setting is whether there’s a mom and a dad that can invest their time and their resources in supporting the development of a child.

Gregory: As you look at the progression of this issue, as a Republican do you think Republicans have lost the fight politically over this?

Romney: I don’t know that you have to worry about who wins and who loses a particular fight. I think if you stand for various principles, you communicate those to the American people, and they either support those or not. Sometimes, if something is lost, why, you move on to the next issue. You wish you would have won that one, but you move on. I think, in this case, it continues to be an issue that people find relevant and important, and it’s something which is being considered in various states across the country.

I do believe, by the way, that it’s best decided by the people, rather than by the courts. I think when the courts step in and make a decision of this nature, they’re removing from the people something which they have the right to decide themselves.

Chris Johnson is Chief Political & White House Reporter for the Washington Blade. Johnson attends the daily White House press briefings and is a member of the White House Correspondents' Association. Follow Chris

18 Comments
  • Why does Mitt Romney’s opinion on anything matter? He lost. What office does he hold? Nothing!!! Can’t Romney just fade away?

    As for the marriage issue, Romney like most social conservatives frame marriage in terms of children. What about the many couples that don’t have children? If you take children out of the argument, what valid excuse do they have against it?

  • Hey, Rmoney, how about all the children that gay people raise – that are usually straight but not narrow as they grow – that straight people often throw away as just so much human detritus? Divorces, abandonment, throwing their kids onto the streets because they are gay kids? I think Mormon marriages should be illegal.

  • love the article.
    hate the petty over-moderation.
    get with the times or be left behind.

  • It’s not man’s laws that matter, but God’s laws. We are free to choose. God has given commandments, it is up to us if we choose eternal life with God. What do you choose?

  • Has it ever occurred to Romney that same-sex marriages may never have any impact on traditional marriages?

    And has it occurred to Romney that the rise in same-sex activity may be a natural occurrence to population control? Whatever gods the Mormons worship forbid that nature has ways of exercising control that we mere mortals haven’t even though of. And could homosexual activity be one of them?

    What with all the erectile dysfunction ads, could it be that these males might be better off served by engaging in homosexual sex rather than reproductive activity? Or could it be that nature is turning their heterosexual desires into homosexual desires to further curb population growth?

    And another abomination to the religious right, could it be that nature is producing more homosexuals for the sole purpose of population control? Nature like diversity; society hates it.

    With Facebook’s classification of 50 some different sexual categories, it appears that there are more and more different sexual diversities emerging. And could all these be a further means of population control?

  • Has it ever occurred to Romney that same-sex marriages may never have any impact on traditional marriages?

    And has it occurred to Romney that the rise in same-sex activity may be a natural occurrence to population control? Whatever gods the Mormons worship forbid that nature has ways of exercising control that we mere mortals haven't even though of. And could homosexual activity be one of them?

    What with all the erectile dysfunction ads, could it be that these males might be better off served by engaging in homosexual sex rather than reproductive activity? Or could it be that nature is turning their heterosexual desires into homosexual desires to further curb population growth?

    And another abomination to the religious right, could it be that nature is producing more homosexuals for the sole purpose of population control? Nature like diversity; society hates it.

    With Facebook's classification of 50 some different sexual categories, it appears that there are more and more different sexual diversities emerging. And could all these be a further means of population control?

  • Gays marrying is a non issue for me. That said, it is a joke to call their union a marriage but Hollywood has glamorized it so society is buying this farce. The one good thing about it is now that gays "marry" perhaps they will now feel the pain of divorce and the breaking commitments that straights endure.

  • If that man had become president my entire family would have immediately sought political asylum in another country. I am white, and I was born here, but I'd rather die or defect than watch someone like him ruin this country.

  • Massachusetts has had family equality for nine years, yet Romney needs time to find negative impact of gay headed families? If he can't find the negatives after nine years, yet he claims it will take generations? So only when the Great Great Grandfathers/Grandmothers were gay will the effect be seen in the Great Great Grandchildren? What kind of effect does he expect 100+ years down the line? Good thing he didn't become a scientist with that kind of attitude. Our discoveries would slow down to snail-ware.

  • So Romney believes that generations should pass before it can be determined that people like Edie Windsor should not have paid taxes like a stranger to her wife and lifemate? Is he required to see the tears in the eyes, and the desperate financial hardship, of a couple generations of people with same-sex parents also being a legal stranger at one of their parent's funeral?

    That's only believable and credible to me if he also believes that any of his grandchildren brought to the family by means that were not available 50 years ago should stand on precarious legal ground for a few decades before it's decided that should be accorded the full rights of being a Romney family member.

  • Gay couplings have been suffering the exact same pain of separation and the breaking commitments to each other that straights endure since mankind has tread the earth. You act as if gay couplings are something Hollywood dreamed up. Gays have been extant in society since Ogg took a yearning for Ugg in their cave. It is part of nature and her variant ways of procreation. Just because the myth of a Early Bronze Age god hates it doesn't mean Mother Nature stopped making a stable share of Gays.

  • Actually we already know that children raised by a lesbian couple tend to have higher than average IQ's. So what we do know that even with the hate and bigotry form people like Romney it seems that a pair of lesbians may be the ideal child rearing situation.

  • >> pass around<< Time to limit ALL politicians salaries and expenses and recall–RECALL all the career politicians..

  • Michael Dreibelbis

    Also too….. now "Divorce Court" can have gay couples too…. Win/Win.

  • A dinosaur with a one track mind even if it's flawed.

  • I think your confusing marriage with the sacrament of matrimony. Marriage is the legal term. That's all we want, the same legal right to marry. Religion can keep their sacrament, don't want any part of any religion that judges my compassion or love for another person as "less" than theirs.

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