Mitt Romney indicated he would preserve the repeal of Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell during an interview with the Des Moines Register’s editorial board this afternoon, drawing a clear distinction with opponent Newt Gingrich, who has said he would ban gays and lesbians from serving openly if elected president:
QUESTION: How do you feel about gays serving openly in the military.
ROMNEY: That’s already occurred and I’m not planning on reversing that at this stage.
QUESTION: But you’re comfortable with it?
ROMNEY: Um, I was not comfortable making the change during a period of conflict, by virtue of the complicating features of a new program in the middle of two wars going on, but those wars are winding down and moving in that direction at this stage no longer presents that problem.
Romney had hinted that he might bring back the ban during a June debate in New Hampshire, but has historically maintained that he opposes changing the policy during wartime.
Asked about marriage equality, Romney reiterated his support for a federal marriage amendment, but explained that a strong push for the measure would be politically futile. He also refused to say what else — if anything — he would do to work against same-sex marriage. Romney previously opposed a federal amendment, saying that questions of marriage should be left to the states.