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.
We were given an insight into that seemingly premeditated “no choice” in a New York Times article dated September 8, 2007. It reported that, during a 2002 meeting in a gay bar with Log Cabin Republicans, Romney “promised to obey the courts’ ultimate ruling and not champion a fight on either side of the issue”—a promise he most definitely kept, despite head fakes to gullible conservatives, pressing them to think he was crusading to protect marriage, children and defend the constitution.
I met with Governor Romney earlier this year with about 10 other people from Chicago. Impeccably dressed, he sat at the head of the table and gave a powerful presentation on his healthcare policies, taxes and, of course, how much he opposed homosexual marriage and its bad effects on children. When it came time to ask questions, I politely asked him why, in spite of his claims of opposition and concern, he had in fact been the one who began homosexual marriage in Massachusetts? —How was it that he ordered the rewording of marriage certificates and threatened state and local officials with firing if they did not comply?
He erupted in anger. He asked if I were an attorney and then volunteered emphatically: “I am a graduate of Harvard Law School!” An aide tried to calm him down, but he continued to accuse me of lying. “She’s not telling the truth,” he said. Those are the moments you are glad your reputation for honesty is firmly in tact—and that you have all the documents necessary to prove your accusation.
So when James Rappaport, former head of the Massachusetts Republican Party held a press conference recently to announce his endorsement of Rudy Giuliani, I could resonate with his observations. Rappaport, who served when Romney was governor, said Romney “has a strong record of showmanship as opposed to actual performance.” On his relationship with the State Legislature, “His word is no good … Mitt Romney would say one thing in a meeting and literally go out of the meeting to the press and tell the opposite story. There was no desire in the legislature to be accommodating to him because they couldn’t trust him…. Romney will be clear today on what he believes today, and he’ll be clear tomorrow on what he believes tomorrow, but they may be different things.”
Mitt Romney is a duplicitous man, and his most damning duplicity has brought about a sea change in marriage and family that our country may never recover from.
He may have had “no choice,” but I do.