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Mitt Romney’s Other Flip-Flop: Follow the Court or the Constitution?
By Amy L. Contrada
Nov. 11, 2011
Mitt Romney swore this oath on January 2, 2003 when he became Governor of Massachusetts:
I do solemnly swear and affirm that I will faithfully and impartially discharge and perform all of the duties incumbent upon me as Governor of the Commonwealth of Massachusetts according to the best of my abilities and understanding, agreeably, to the rules and regulations of the Constitution and the laws of this Commonwealth, so help me God.
Mitt Romney has claimed that he “took every conceivable step within the law to defend traditional marriage.” This is simply not true. In fact, all he had to do to prevent “gay marriage” from beginning in 2004 was follow the clear separation of powers laid out in the state Constitution. But instead, he kowtowed to the state high court’s dream of “gay marriage” in its 2003 opinion, Goodridge v. Department of Public Health.
Romney’s liberal tendencies have been well noted, especially with regard to RomneyCare, TARP, gun control, abortion, climate change, and immigration policy. But his failure to stand up for constitutional principles and conservative values following the Goodridge opinion is perhaps his largest failing. That ruling was possibly the most significant perversion of judicial authority since Roe v. Wade. Yet Romney called it “law” that he must implement and follow.
Romney has since repeatedly said that the courts cannot make law and that judicial activism must be opposed. So here we have another Romney flip-flop. Which is it? Can – or cannot – courts make law?
In November 2003, four unelected judges on the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court asked the Legislature to change the existing man-woman marriage statute to allow for same-sex couples. The Legislature ignored that request, knowing the Court had no power to order them or to overturn existing law. And the law was never changed.
But Governor Romney forged ahead in 2004, ordering his Department of Public Health to print new “Party A & Party B” marriage licenses, and having his Chief Legal Counsel train the Town Clerks and Justices of the Peace to license and perform the same-sex “marriages” (with no allowance for conscientious objectors). His Legal Counsel was later thanked by the homosexual-transgender lobby for his support of the Goodridge ruling. And the New York Times later reported that, while running for Governor in 2002, Romney had promised homosexual activists that he would not work against the expected “gay marriage” ruling.
Governor Romney had a chance to exhibit genuine leadership on the issue of judicial activism, but chose to cave to liberal sentiments and donors. His unlawful implementation of "gay marriage" in Massachusetts in May 2004 set a horrible precedent, and emboldened judicial tyrants and sexual-radical activists around the country.
What's more, his current promises to protect traditional marriage should be taken with a grain of salt. For all his talk, he has openly supported “civil unions” – differing from marriage only in name. The proposed federal marriage amendment he has pledged to support would not ban civil unions (and is unlikely to pass in any case).
Had Mitt Romney just upheld his oath as Governor to protect the Massachusetts Constitution and abide by the laws as enacted by the Legislature, the marriage landscape across the country would likely be quite different now.
If Romney couldn’t stand up for constitutional government and conservative values in Massachusetts, how can we trust him to stand up for them in Washington?