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

by Amy Contrada

“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.

To hear Mitt Romney at CPAC, one would think you were hearing from a true small-government social conservative, akin to Ronald Reagan. Let’s set that record straight.

Following is 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

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.”

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 suggestedit 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 a gay bar with the homosexual Log Cabin Republicans.

Governor 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 support of the current proposed federal marriage amendment he says he supports. 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 protecting gay 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 was 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).


This blog printed in its entirety at the author’s website.  

Amy Contrada is the author of Mitt Romney’s Deception