Former Massachusetts Governor and current GOP presidential candidate Mitt Romney insisted in an interview with The Associated Press, that he is not anti-gay.
His remarks were reported on the Internet by The Associated Press. Romney drew a distinction between being opposed to same-sex marriages and not being intolerant of gays. Romney noted that during his time as the governor of Massachusetts, he had gays on his staff–one serving in his cabinet and others being appointed to responsible positions.
During a campaign question and answer session, Romney had been asked whether or not a pastor should preach that homosexuality is a sin. In an effort to separate his faith from the office of President, Romney said, as quoted by The Associated Press, “I don’t think a person who’s running for a secular position as I am should talk about or engage in discussions of what they in their personal faith or their personal beliefs is immoral or not immoral.” Many traditional, orthodox Christians have expressed concerns about Romney’s Mormon faith and how that faith would affect his performance if were to be elected President of the United States. Romney has tried to distance himself from the more controversial elements of Mormonism, such as the now banned practice of polygamy which some of his ancestors practiced.
This is not the first time that Romney’s apparent contradictory stands on gays and gay issues has come up in his political career. The Associated Press points out that in a 1994 run against Senator Ted Kennedy, Romney said he could do a better job on gay rights than a Democrat. However, in 2003, after the Massachusetts Supreme Judicial Court ruled that same sex marriages were legal in Massachusetts, Romney called for an amendment that would ban gay marriages.
In a recent meeting, he clarified his attitude toward same-sex marriages while affirming his tolerance of gays. He is quoted by The Associated Press as insisting that he has “nothing but respect and feelings of tolerance for people with differences from myself and feel that way with regards to those who are gay.” He said he is opposed to gay marriage because of its effect on the children.
He confessed to being less tolerant of illegal immigrants and of a proposed immigration bill that would ease the path toward citizenship of people who did not enter the country legally. Calling the bill unfair to those who have tried to follow the legal process, Romney said that he and President Bush have some differences about the bill. In Romney’s view, it is amnesty, a characterization rejected by Bush. Bush says that “Amnesty is forgiveness without a penalty.” One proposed bill would impose fines on illegal immigrants.