Romney Struggles To Explain Why He Opposes Marriage Equality During New Hampshire Town Hall

Audience members peppered Mitt Romney with questions about his opposition to same-sex marriage during a town hall in Hopkinton, New Hampshire on Monday, pressing the candidate on his position four separate times during the hour-long event. But Romney was unwilling or unable to make the case for why he would not recognize families with parents of the same gender, even as he spoke in a state that has permitted gays and lesbians to marry since 2009.

“I think the ideal setting to raise a child for a society like ours is where there is a man and a woman,” Romney initially responded to a question about why he thought marriage between a man and a woman was more valuable than that between a man and a man or a woman and a woman. “A society recognizes that the ideal setting for raising a child is when you have the benefit of two people working together and where one is male and one is female,” he added, but said he would support “partnership agreements” for people of the same gender. Romney dismissed a fourth question altogether, which came from a child who was raised by two dads. Watch a compilation:

Romney’s claim that opposite sex parents are the “ideal” way to raise children remains unsubstantiated, however. A range of studies, including research on gay and lesbian parents, have found that while it’s ideal for a child to be raised by two parents, the parents’ gender doesn’t cause radical differences. The American Psychological Association has also concluded that “beliefs that lesbian and gay adults are not fit parents have no empirical foundation. Lesbian and heterosexual women have not been found to differ markedly in their approaches to child rearing.”