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Santorum Slams Romney As ‘To The Left Of Barack Obama’ On Marriage Equality

By Alex Seitz-Wald  

"Santorum Slams Romney As ‘To The Left Of Barack Obama’ On Marriage Equality"

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Seeking to dominate the social conservative space in the GOP presidential field, Rick Santorum attacked Mitt Romney on marriage equality this morning on conservative radio host Laura Igraham’s show, saying Romney “issued gay marriage licenses” as governor of Massachusetts:

SANTORUM: [I'm] a solid conservative who fought for the federal marriage amendment as opposed to Mitt Romney, who issued gay marriage licenses and actually violated the Constitution of Massachusetts to institute gay marriages in his state. That to me is a pretty clear contrast. And I would make the argument that Mitt Romney, as governor of Massachusetts, was to the left of Barack Obama on the issues of gay marriage. So, you can decide for yourself whether that past performance is an indication of future performance.

Listen here:

As ThinkProgress LGBT editor Igor Volksky noted when Rep. Michele Bachmann (R-MN) leveled a similar charge against Romney, the claim that the former governor issued same-sex marriage licenses “is a popular misconception.” Put forward by right-wing groups, the claim conflates the state’s One Day Marriage Designation with actual marriage licenses. But as Massachusetts’ state website explains, “[t]he One-Day Marriage Designation is not a marriage license,” but rather a certificate the governor can issue to “designate non-clergy individuals to solemnize a marriage.” Once same-sex marriage became legal in Massachusetts, the Romney administration granted designation applications to both same and opposite sex couples.

Moreover, Romney did not violate the Massachusetts Constitution to institute marriage equality. The state only allowed same-sex marriages after the Massachusetts Supreme Court ruled the state constitution granted the right. Romney publicly opposed that ruling. He also tried to limit the impact of the ruling by ordering town clerks to enforce a little-known 1913 law to deny licenses to out-of-state couples.

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