Exactly one year ago I signed a letter of challenge to Mitt Romney along with Paul Weyrich and 42 other pro-family leaders asking the governor to use the time he had left in office to “reverse the damage that has been done to the sacred institution of marriage.” We urged him to “declare immediately that homosexual ‘marriage’ licenses issued in violation of the law are illegal and to issue an order to all state and local officials to cease violating the law.”
Why did we make such a difficult and uncomfortable request? After all, Governor Romney had done everything he could to stop homosexual marriage, hadn’t he? And as he explained to the people of Massachusetts and to the country, he had “no choice” but to “execute the law.” He had no choice when he ordered marriage licenses changed from “husband and wife” to “party A and party B”… no choice when he ordered city officials to immediately begin performing same-sex marriages … no choice when he threatened them with losing their jobs if they didn’t comply … no choice but to be the very instrument, the expeditor, the person responsible for ushering in same-sex marriage.
You will find our letter filled with passages from the Massachusetts Constitution quite convincing, but you can also read the words penned by Hugh Hewitt at the time in an article he wrote in The Weekly Standard on November 20, 2003.
It was titled “Just Say ‘No.’” Hugh begins with a quote attributed to President Andrew Jackson in the aftermath of a Supreme Court decision he disliked: “John Marshall has made his decision, now let him enforce it.” “Romney should seriously consider indifference,” Hugh wrote. “The ruling is also absurd in its reasoning and breathtaking in its arrogance…. The decision is illegitimate, and the appropriate response will be to ignore it. Romney and the legislature ought to stand back and say no.” Hugh continued, “In fact, if the court threatens with penalties, they ought to threaten back.”
But Romney ignored Hewitt’s advice as well as the advice of countless others and moved ahead with the most radical decision a governor could make: to overturn centuries of history and wisdom and bring about a moral fault line that may never be repaired in our lifetime. But he had “no choice.”
Except, of course, if you consider that the court order was directed at the legislative and not the executive branch. The Massachusetts Constitution is clear that all decisions regarding marriage shall be governed by statutory law and not by courts. It was an illegal order by a rogue court to a weak legislature advanced by a governor who had no choice—except if he had considered following the dictates of conscience and the Constitution he had sworn to uphold.