RightWingWatch has uncovered a clip of Mitt Romney speaking at an event known as “Liberty Sunday” in 2006 alongside anti-gay hate group leaders like Tony Perkins of the Family Research Council, Don Wildmon of the American Family Association, and James Dobson, formerly of Focus on the Family. In his speech, Romney attacked the Massachusetts Supreme Court for its marriage equality decision, warning that there would be severe consequences for children:
ROMNEY: Here in Massachusetts, activist judges struck a blow to the foundation of civilization: the family. They ruled that our Constitution requires people of the same gender to marry. I believe their error occurred because they focused on adult rights. They said that if heterosexual adults can marry, then homosexual couples have to also be able to marry to have equal rights. But what they ignored is that marriage is not primarily about adults; marriage is about the nurturing and development of children.
A child’s development is enhanced by the nurturing of both genders. Every child deserves a mother and a father. Of course, the principle burden of this court’s ruling doesn’t fall on adults; it falls on children. We’re asked to change the state birth certificate to prevent heterocentricity — “mother” and “father” will become “Parent A” and “Parent B.” An elementary school teacher reads to her second-graders from a book titled “The King and the King” [sic] about a prince who marries a prince. And a second-grader’s father is denied the right to have his daughter taken out of that classroom while the book is being read.[…]
The price of same-sex marriage is paid by the children. Our fight for marriage then should focus on the needs of children, not the rights of adults.
Romney then endorsed a federal constitutional amendment banning same-sex marriage. Watch it:
The clip is telling for how blithely Romney condemned same-sex couples and propagated conservatives’ fear-mongering talking points about children before embarking on the presidential campaign trail. Of course, he’s wrong that children are somehow better off with “a mother and a father”— studies have consistently shown that the kids of same-sex couples are just as well-adjusted. Ironically, all of the points Romney made refer to adult privileges, not child protections: the expectations that archaic gender roles be celebrated, that the Catholic Church has free reign to discriminate, and that parents have the right to deprive their children of inclusive educations.
The “nurturing and development of children” is exactly why marriage equality is important to same-sex couples. Their families deserve the same protections and security as all other families. They are a part of schools and communities across this nation and cannot be erased or hidden from view simply because Romney doesn’t want kids to know they exist.